Designing and developing sustainable community is about more than just buildings. Buildings often last only 25-50 years before they need substantial re-investment, but sustainable economic, social and cultural fabric creates communities that will choose a sustainble future for generations to come. This course will practically examine what economic, legal, contractual, cultural, marketing and communications strategies -- so-called "invisible structures" -- can be combined with sustainable building practices to initiate long-term sustainable communities. Students will develop a long-term sustainability strategy for a real development to be built and are encouraged to bring their own projects for discussion.

Course start time: Friday, 7pm
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm

  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • AIA credits: 16 -- Qualifies for HSW requirements.

Course Objectives

  • Explore definitions of sustainable community
  • Develop an understanding of the forces that impact community sustainability
  • Discover the e conomic, legal, contractual, cultural, marketing and communications tools that are available to shape sustainable community development
  • Create a conceptual sustainability plan for a new development

Suggested Reading

Christopher Alexander, Neis, et al. A New Theory of Urban Design. ISBN 0195047537

Christopher Alexander, Ishinkawa, et al. A Pattern language. ISBN 0195019199

Jared Diamond. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. ISBN 0143036556

Wilson, Uncapher, et al. Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate. ISBN 0471188786

Jane Jacob. The Nature of Economies. ISBN 0375702431

Course Outline

First Evening 7:00 PM - 10 PM

Introduction to sustainability

  • Sustainable communities, what does it mean.
  • Defining environmental sustainability

Sustainability in specific areas.- Expanding the definition of sustainability.
Take to bed exercise

Day 1 9 AM

Recap previous Evening
Take to bed exercise discussion
Tools that can shape sustainability.


Tools that can shape sustainability.
Mythology of place.

LUNCH BREAK (1 hour)

Case Studies


Workshop - Developing sustainability strategy for a new housing development.

5:00PM DAY 2 END


Day 2 9 AM

Morning Intro
Integrating architecture, public spaces, and sustainable community
Continue workshop


Continue workshop

LUNCH BREAK (1 hour)

Present Workshop findings- With Class questions and critique
The future of sustainable communities


Discussion of student projects
Class Evaluation

5:30 PM END