ENVR E-119: Green Buildings, Urban Resilience, and Sustainability in Communities

The built environment of our communities creates energy and material utilization patterns and subsequent ecological effects. Climate change challenges existing buildings and infrastructure which has led to conversations about resilience. Building design and location are a critical determinant of health, comfort, and productivity for occupants. How do our communities, enterprises, and institutions manage the complexity of these interactions? What intentions result in what amount of flourishing and thriving in the urban realm? How do we measure our effects on social outcomes, on ecology, or on health? This course introduces students to the principles of sustainability and resilience in our communities with a focus on how systems dynamics can be articulated and then managed. We use the framework of social equity and the UN sustainable development goals to explore how urban design and governance can embrace priorities for human wellbeing. Students become familiar with international standards for sustainable design, operations, and management of buildings more favorable to the integrity of communities such as US Green Building Council's LEED certifications, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), WELL Building Standard, the Living Building Challenge, and other concepts related to sustainable design. Relevant topics are addressed through lectures, readings, case studies, and optional site visits to exemplary green buildings on the Harvard campus and in nearby Cambridge.


Grey Lee







Course ID: 


Subject Area: 

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning
  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2020-2021 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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