11.S199 / 11.S945
Cities and Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation

This course examines climate adaptation and mitigation responses at the city level. The course examines factors of greatest concern in adapting cities to climate change including infrastructure, energy food and water systems, health, housing and environmental justice. Various city and regional cases are used to analyze how cities are mobilizing to face climate change and integrate core considerations into urban planning. The topic of climate change and cities is important for the study of environmental policy, because cities are at the forefront of action both for reducing greenhouse gases and responding to impacts. Additionally, the most dramatic effects of climate change will be felt on the coasts, where up to 75% of the global population will reside by 2050. The course will examine the challenges and solutions to food, infrastructure and energy systems that cities are developing. Issues of justice and equity will be considered as those who are already socially disadvantaged tend to be most vulnerable to climate change. Working on independent case studies, students will analyze how cities make urban planning decisions with respect to climate adaptation. In the process students will gain analytical skills to better understand how urban policies are made, and how they can be improved. Finally, students will develop recommendations for making climate adaptation more effective and sustainable at the city level.