GEOG 30
Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems

Learning Activity: Sustainable Cities

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In this activity, you will apply lessons from cities around the world discussed in Module 7 to your city or town. The lessons can be about transportation, urban farming, green building, or any other aspect of cities. The aim is to draw on the rest of the world’s experience with sustainable urban development in order to identify how your city or town could itself become more sustainable. Your discussion of your city or town can be at any scale from the entire metropolitan area to a single block.

Note to University Park students: For this exercise, please refer to your home town, not State College, unless your home town is State College (indicate this specifically in your work if this is the case).

Note to students in or from rural areas: If you live in or are from a rural area, please choose a city or larger town that you are sufficiently familiar with in order to complete the activity. If possible, do not choose State College.

Learning Activity Directions

Part I: Create your entry

Your entry should have three paragraphs, each one a paragraph of 125-175 words.

1. In paragraph 1:

  • introduce your city or town. Explain where it is and what type(s) of neighborhoods it has (pedestrian-oriented, urban downtown, automobile suburb, etc.);
  • state how many people live in the metropolitan area. If your discussion is at a different scale, estimate how large in population and area the region you're discussing is;
  • explain your connection to the place. Feel free to add any opinions, feelings, or other thoughts you have about the place.

In paragraphs 2 and 3, you will choose two cities from the module to discuss in more detail.

2. Name the first city from the module you're discussing. Explain what aspect(s) of the city you refer to and how these are relevant to your city or town. In particular, discuss how insights from the city from the module offer ideas for how your city or town could become more sustainable.

3. Name the second city from the module you're discussing. As above, explain what aspect(s) of the city you're using and how those are relevant to your city or town. In particular, discuss how insights from the city from the module offer ideas for how your city or town could become more sustainable.

In all three sections, make sure to use course concepts from this module to develop and demonstrate your ideas. Review this page for examples of how we expect you to engage course concepts. 

Post your response

To post your Learning Activity response, go to the Module 7 Learning Activity: Sustainable Cities Forum in Canvas.

  • Select Reply from the instructor's original post.
  • Copy/paste your initial/original response to the Learning Activity into the text box from a saved Word document (to prevent losing work if the page refreshes, etc.).
  • Select Post Reply. Your response is now visible to your classmates and your instructor. Check in to the discussion forum often throughout the week to post and respond to comments and questions.

Part II: Read and comment on other students' entries

Read other students' entries

After Part I has been completed, module 7 entries from all students will be available to view. Read through entries by about 20 other students, and respond by writing comments for two of these student entries. Please choose students whose entries have fewer comments. Also pick students whose entries are interesting to you for any reason.

Post a comment

Post a comment on the two entries you have chosen. Briefly introduce yourself and what you wrote for your own entry. Then respond to their entry in some way by using concepts from this or other modules. You might compare and contrast your own entry with theirs. You might ask a question, or pose a challenge based on course concepts. As always, keep your comments polite and respectful.

The comment should be 4-6 sentences long, not counting greetings.

To post a comment on TWO of your classmates' Learning Activities, go to the Module 7 Learning Activity: Sustainable Cities Forum in Canvas and follow these steps with TWO Learning Activity posts:

  • Select Reply from a student’s Learning Activity post.
  • Copy/paste your response into the text box from a saved Word document (to prevent losing work if the page refreshes, etc.).
  • Select Post Reply. Your response is now visible to your classmates and your instructor. Check in to the discussion forum often throughout the week to post and respond to comments and questions.

Grading Criteria

You will be graded on the quality of your participation. See the Grading Rubric for specifics on how this assignment will be graded.