Ziman Center Sponsors Innovative UCLA Graduate Course in Sustainable Planning and Building Design
Growing Student Interest in Sustainability Played Key Role in Courses Development
Originally published in Ziman Center News
The UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate will sponsor a timely, innovative graduate student course on sustainable urban planning and building design. It will be offered during the Spring 2009 quarter by the UCLA School of Public Policy’s Department of Urban Planning, in collaboration with the campus-wide Leaders in Sustainability graduate program.
Aligned with the Ziman Center’s mission to employ a multidisciplinary approach to address today’s critical real estate challenges, and with the Leaders in Sustainability Program’s mission to provide opportunities for scholars from across disciplines to work together on sustainability issues, the course will consist of UCLA graduate students from various areas of study, including urban planning, management, law, environmental science, economics, architecture and engineering. It will emphasize technical innovation and sustainable planning concepts in order to minimize future impacts on eco-systems.
“The built environment is a very substantial part of the ecological problems we face, and hopefully, it will become part of the solution,” said Ziman Center affiliated faculty member Charles Corbett, Professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Director of the Leaders in Sustainability Program. “Sustainability requires a multidisciplinary approach, simultaneously taking into account economic, environmental and social factors. This course provides an excellent opportunity for future planning and design decision-makers to gain experience addressing this complex issue in partnership with one another.”
Lead by instructors David Herd, Principal at sustainable engineering design firm Buro Happold, and Steve Zimmerman, architect and principal at AECOM Design, the course will also include a series of guest lectures from building and planning experts. Their industry knowledge and expertise will give students valuable, real-world insight into an array of topics, including master planning, building optimization, transportation, LEED certification and future trends.
The origin of this course, which is being offered for the second time at UCLA, can be traced to four graduate students who came together to request a dynamic, cross-disciplinary class on sustainability. That first class was the idea of UCLA Anderson student Mike Brown, MBA ’09, and School of Public Affairs Urban Planning students Adam Garcia, MA ’09, Zoe Elisabeth, MA ’09, and Laura Zahn, MA ’08. Despite limited resources, the student-run class was well-attended, and it was clear that there was a growing student interest in sustainability and future course offerings.
“Green building is an emerging field that is built upon old traditions, as well as innovative technologies,” said Elisaeth. “Not only does this course provide students with skills critical to addressing today’s most pressing environmental issues, it provides them with a competitive edge in a shrinking job market.”
“Verifiable sustainability – environmental and social as well as economic – is the new definition of quality,” Brown added. “No class A building is going to be competitive without a green rating, and no job seeker is going to be successful in the field without a keen understanding of the galaxy of issues involved.”
Sustainability initiatives are now gaining momentum across UCLA, a community that has often been an early reflection of trends in businesses, governments and communities globally. The Leaders in Sustainability Program has grown steadily since its inception three years ago, with the number of graduate students participating in its certificate program more than doubling each year to 97 today.
Additionally, the UCLA Campus Sustainability Committee, consisting of faculty, students, administrators and staff from a broad range of campus departments, was established in 2005 to create and advance a culture of sustainability at UCLA. In 2008, UCLA hired its first sustainability coordinator, Nurit Katz, MBA/MPP 2008, to manage the many campus initiatives that have since grown out of the committee’s efforts. For more information about the Leaders in Sustainability graduate program and its course offerings, please visit www.leadersinsustainability.com.
Published: Friday, March 20, 2009