UAP 5784 – Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development

3 08 2014

This fall semester I will be offering a graduate seminar focused on Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development (UAP 5784; 3 Credits)

Book Review: “This astonishing book is a terrific summary of informa¬tion for those seeking feasible alternatives to the pursuit of infinite growth.” Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth

Book Review: “This astonishing book is a terrific summary of informa¬tion for those seeking feasible alternatives to the pursuit of infinite growth.” Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth

The seminar will meet on Fridays from 12:30pm to 3:15pm, in the Architecture Annex, room 111.

The seminar is designed to provide students with a transdisciplinary perspective on sustainable development. It is intended for students interested in planning, policy, economics, business, innovation, environmental studies, and law. The seminar will explore the many dimensions of sustainability and how national, multinational, and international political and legal mechanisms can be used to further sustainable development.

During the seminar we will consider the inter-relationship of global economic changes, inequality, employment, worker health and safety, and environment in the context of theories of development, trade, technical and organizational innovation, and employment. Mechanisms for resolving the apparent conflicts between these elements will be explored.

This new book will be available in August/September, 2014.

This new book will be available 2014/2015.

The seminar is intended to stimulate discussion and critical thinking on the key writings in sustainable development. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their mastery of the materials through (1) written assignments and (2) class participation and attendance. The seminar has two required texts (see images) that will be supplemented by topical readings tailored to student interests.

During the semester, I will use Google Glass and other video capture devices/software to provide students with enhanced feedback on their assignments and performance in the seminar.

Global Planning and Int. Dev. Studies

1 08 2014

Certificate Flyer2If you are a VT graduate student and have an interest in international development, I highly recommend the Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies.

This fall, I will be co-teaching a class on Advance Urban Infrastructure Planning that can be counted as an elective for the certificate. Jocelyn Widmer will also be offering this fall the first required class for the certificate – International Development Policy and Planning (UAP 5764G).

Next Spring, I will be offering the second required certificate course – the International Development Planning Studio (UAP5764).

Advanced Urban Infrastructure Planning

8 07 2014

This fall, I will be offering a new course on Advanced Urban Infrastructure Planning (UAP 5854G) with Yehyun (Hannah) An. The course description is provided below. The course can be counted as an elective for the Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies.

ImageDescription: Urban infrastructure systems play a critical role in facilitating economic development and raising quality of life. However, the resource, energy, and capital-intensive characteristics of infrastructure can result in negative environmental and social impacts. Over the past two decades, the concept of sustainability and how it can be incorporated in the planning, design, and development of new infrastructure has gained significant attention. Sustainability principles have also been applied to the management of existing infrastructure.

This course will explore the emerging concepts, principles, and methodologies used to advance sustainable urban infrastructure planning. In particular, it will study national and international cases of infrastructure development, with an emphasis on projects in the US and India.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. describe an infrastructure system using accurate terminology;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the main concepts and principles of infrastructure planning;
  3. identify the key features of a sustainable infrastructure system and explain how they promote sustainable development;
  4. apply analytical tools for infrastructure planning;
  5. critically evaluate infrastructure cases/projects/proposals through the lens of sustainability; and
  6. identify the gaps between theoretical principles of sustainable infrastructure and their application in practices.

Time: Tue & Thu 11:00am─12:15pm

Location: Architecture Annex 111

Credits: 3

Happy Retirement Sandy!

26 06 2014

Tomorrow, Sandy Graham will be retiring from her position as office manager for the Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program at Virginia Tech. Sandy has been working at Virginia Tech for 25 years and has been with UAP for the past five years. Prior to coming to UAP, Sandy worked for the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The images below were taken at her retirement party last night at the University Club.

On behalf of all the UAP faculty and students, I’d like to congratulate Sandy on reaching this milestone and thank her for all of her years of service and dedication to our program and the university.

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Teaching Sustainability

24 06 2014

Last Wednesday, I joined Joe Zietsman (Texas A&M), Damon Fordham (Cadmus), and Ann Xu (Georgia Tech) in New York for a discussion of Education and Practitioner Training to Promote Sustainability. We were invited to speak at the TRB ADC60 summer conference on Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure.

To prepare for my presentation on “Teaching Sustainable Development/Transportation in Institutions of Higher Education,” I reviewed the past decade of research captured in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. I also read papers from journals such as Sustainability Science and the Journal of Cleaner Production. For those new to this subject area, I recommend the following articles that provide useful frameworks or discuss important pedagogical approaches:

BrainstormingAfter absorbing this material, I tried to visually capture the various approaches, theories, competence areas, etc. that emerged (see photo). This visual patchwork of ideas laid the foundation for my presentation that focused on the following four questions:

  • —What knowledge and skills do students need to learn?
  • —How should we promote ‘Sustainability in Higher Education’ (SHE) – e.g., top down vs. bottom up?
  • —How do we change the hearts and minds of faculty?
  • —What should be the role of non-academic entities – e.g., government agencies, private businesses, and NGOs?

While I was only able to briefly respond to these questions in my presentation (below), the literature I cite on my slides (and listed above) should provide a useful starting point for anyone interested in learning more about theories on how to teach sustainability.



Teaching Using Google Glass and Apps

3 06 2014

The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy has just published a Tool Tips article I wrote on how I’m using Google Glass and Apps to support my teaching at Virginia Tech. The multimedia format of the journal offers a unique opportunity to embed pictures and videos in the article that provide a rich context to the platform I’m using and what students thought of the experience.


Welcome IITK Scholars

23 05 2014

This morning we held our first IITK-VT partnership summer meeting, during which we welcomed three visiting scholars from IITK to Virginia Tech. Anshita AgrawalAbishek Saraf, and Saurabh Dixit will be spending eight weeks at Virginia Tech working with Prof. Sunil Sinha, Prof. Brian Kleiner, and me. The scholars will undertake research focusing on resilient water infrastructure, construction safety, and sustainable infrastructure development, and will support the development of a new course on urban infrastructure that will offered this fall semester.

The pictures below were taken during our meeting using Google Glass.

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