Topics in Sustainable Development

This course is a trans-disciplinary graduate level seminar designed to critically explore the concept and practice of sustainable development from a variety of vantage points. The class is cross-listed in business, architecture, planning, law, and public policy. It will be taught by Prof. Moore as well as outside speakers representing the full range of interest and experience with sustainable development. Topics vary by year, but generally include: the philosophical origins of sustainability; systems thinking; commerce in a sustainable world; government and market solutions to social and environmental problems; role of international governing institutions; sustainable community initiatives; sustainable architecture and cities; industrial ecology; and the difficult question of "equity."

The spring 2011 seminar will examine the concept of sociotechnical codes which relate desirable social change to technological innovation. To do so we will engage with the City of Austin comprehensive planning process, Imagine Austin, which holds that social equity, in the form of affordable housing, is a necessary dimension of sustainable development. More specifically, seminar participants will develop, with City Plan participants and affordable housing advocates, a modified S.M.A.R.T. Housing Code which is an exemplar of sociotechnical coding. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Safe, Mixed- income, Affordable, Reasonably-priced, and Transit-oriented housing. Between 2002 and 2008, 10,110 S.M.A.R.T. Housing units were produced in the City of Austin, but changed economic and political conditions have effectively halted the program. Our project will be to critically examine and reconstitute the code as relevant to current conditions.

Enrollment has historically been limited to five students from each of the five participating disciplines. However, students from other disciplines, particularly engineering, with an interest in the topic are encouraged to apply.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Thursday 3:30 - 6:30 pm WMB 4.118

Examination information not available

Additional Information

Course Type


Moore, Steven A. Moore, Steven A.