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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Syllabus

UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA)
Environmental Design Program (ENDS)

ENDS 221: DESIGN - Sustainability by Design. Making our Cities Healthy for Humans and Other Living Things.
Professor Patrick M. Condon       

Spring 2014

Course Intent:
Students will be given a cohesive synthesis of the various issues pertaining to sustainable cities. The issues fall broadly into the categories of economy, equity, and ecology. The climate change crisis will provide a central organizing issue for the class, with students shown the intimate relationship between urban form and the demands that this form exerts on the planet.  Given the complexity of this issue, it is paramount that a framework for synthesis be provided to empower students. This framework is in the form of the Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities, a framework that both structures the required text (of the same name) and organizes the 22 lectures to be delivered over the course of the term. 

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this course students will understand:
  1. how city form is a consequence of how policy interacts with technology and landscape capacity.
  2. how the city is comprised of cultural, ecological and built networks.
  3. ­how discerning the relationship  between job sites and housing sites allows students to knowledgeably render judgement on associated issues, such as social equity or community physical health. 
  4. how professionals and citizens can intervene in decisions about community growth with a broad understanding of their social and professional responsibility.
  5. how to look at the physical form of the city, and from these observations, propose how the physical form of the city might be improved. 
  6. how to graphically and verbally present compelling design arguments.
Subjects to be Covered.
The course is organized in the same sequence as the Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities class textbook. Each rule or principle is taken up in turn and provides the focus for approximately two week of lectures and tutorials. Thus the sequence of the class will be in accordance with the following structure:
  1. Restore the Streetcar City. The North American city was and is essentially a streetcar city. The streetcar city is not only about the streetcar but a particular relationship between land use, density, transportation and energy use.
  2. Provide an interconnected street system. Street systems are of two types, interconnected networks or dendritic tree like hierarchies, with the network system the more sustainable of the two by many measures.
  3. Provide a five minute walk to commercial services and transit. Evidence is clear. The way a city is designed can either support or frustrate walking and transit use. The five minute walk to commercial services and transit is the most fundamental requirement for transit use and facilitating walk trips. 
  4. Provide good jobs close to home. Work sites are increasingly segregated. This is unsustainable. The policy and economic reasons leading to this segregation are unearthed and alternatives examined. 
  5. Provide a variety of house types on the same street. Various policy tools have been used to insure a high degree of social segregation in our urban landscapes. Equally powerful policy tools are coming on line to reverse this trend. 
  6. Provide an interconnected system of natural areas and parks. The natural carrying capacity of the land has often been ignored when building cities, to the peril of those natural systems and at great unnecessary expanse. Design strategies for working with not against the natural infrastructure of the site are explored with a wealth of historical precedents presented. 
  7. Build lighter, greener, smarter, cheaper infrastructure. North American cities have applied increasingly exaggerated infrastructure requirements such that the average home today requires over four times more infrastructure than it did prior to WWII. The technical and public health justifications for this trend are examined with realistic alternatives presented. 
  8. Community Agriculture. While not a rule in the book, it really should be. Significant work has been done in our region on reconciling the problems of rapid growth and sprawl with the need to protect highly productive farmlands.
  9. Summary for our region. Case studies of sustainable plans for both the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver region will be highlighted at the end of the course in an attempt to show what the eight rules, combined with viable community agriculture, might look like in 2050. Note: Isn’t it seven plus agriculture?
Required Text:  
Condon, Patrick M. , 2010
Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World
Washington, DC: Island Press.
Available at the UBC Bookstore

Supplemental Text:
Condon, Patrick M., Teed, Jacqueline, 2006
Sustainability by Design: A Design Vision for a Region of Four Million
Vancouver, BC: Design Centre for Sustainability at UBC
Copies provided free of charge on first day of class.

Course Format:
Two 1.5 hour lectures and one 2 hour tutorial section meeting per week. Large lecture format. Power point illustrated lectures. Over half of the lectures will delivered by the course instructor, Patrick M. Condon, with the remainder delivered by guest lecturers drawn from the community.

Students should be seated before the designated beginning time for lectures. Students will be asked to consistently sit together with other students in their tutorial sections, in designated parts of the lecture hall. Each lecture session, your teaching assistant will use the first ten minutes to accept your answer to an impromptu question. Your answers will help us get to know you and establish your range of opinions and knowledge about the issues presented in the class (as well as provide a convenient way of acknowledging your attendance). Once this is completed, the regular lecture will begin, usually 10 minutes after the start time of the class.

Students should arrive at tutorial session ready before the start time. Students will use tutorial sessions for individual work and comment with teaching assistants, discussing assignments, presenting your own or group work to your peers, and for taking exams. Attendance at tutorials is required.

Course Requirements:
One midterm exam, one final exam, and four projects (requiring both individual and team work), full attendance, active participation in tutorials.

Numeric grades based on results of exams, participation in tutorials, completion of projects 1-4 and attendance.

The four design projects are intended to give students an appreciation for the art and science of creating sustainable communities. The projects require students to apply ideas presented in the lectures and the readings. All project assignments will be submitted, discussed and reviewed in tutorial sections. Towards the end of the semester we will add tutorial section and subtract lecture section, as project time will take a larger proportion of your effort.

During first week of each new assignment, TAs will get the projects started. All assignments will be reviewed by your peers and your tutorial instructor in tutorial sessions. Come prepared to pin up your work on due dates, and to explain your conclusions in short verbal presentations. Students must have all the required work up neatly before the start of class; students arriving late might not be allowed to present their work. You will be graded in part on how well you verbally describe your project.  

The final project, project four, will be different. The presentation of project four will involve the entire class and be held in the lecture space.

It is assumed that all students have access to computers and that the computers are equipped with Microsoft Word or the equivalent. Come to due dates in tutorials with a roll of double sided tape (available at Staples) for taping up work. The only other requirement is a simple digital camera, which most of you now have in your phones. If you don’t have one yet, craigslist will certainly find you one for under $40.

Most students will spend about $100 for expenses related to this course including: course text, transportation via transit and reproduction costs. A second-hand camera may push this to $150.

The teaching assistants do the grading; the professor only assures parity across sections. The TAs will grade all the projects and exams. Grades will be based on the resolution of the design project assignments; comprehension of the reading assignments, lectures, and films as demonstrated in the exam and exercises; attendance, participation and improvement. Points with brief comments (no letter grades) will be given for each project during the semester. Questions about grades can be taken up with TAs during their office hours.

Grade Distribution:
Midterm      20%
Final Exam:    20%
Project 1:  10%
Project 2:  10%
Project 3:  10%
Project 4:  20%
Participation: 10%

All issues related to absences should be addressed to your TA. Attendance will be taken for both lectures and tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is as important as in lectures and will be treated the same. One unexcused absence or repeated late arrivals or early departures can be grounds for lowering the final course grade. Three unexcused absences may be grounds for withdrawing a student from the course at the discretion of the professor and the teaching assistant. If a student has an emergency and cannot attend class, they should contact their TA via e-mail before the start of class if at all possible. Examples of excused absences include: religious holidays, a serious illness requiring a doctor's visit. Life happens and we know that. If you are already aware of any days you will miss class, speak to your TA as soon as possible and provide the required documentation.

LATE WORKIf a student knows in advance that they will have an excused absence on a due date for assignments 1 -3, they must turn in the work prior to the due date. Some but not all of the lecture PowerPoints will be on the course blog. Otherwise note taking is the responsibility of the student. In extreme circumstances with ample prior approval for reasons as indicated in the above concessions, and in accordance with university policy, exceptions will be made.  In such circumstances, arrangements for alternatives to taking exams on the dates indicated will be worked out with your TA.

Incomplete grades are very rarely given. They are only given in case of documented health or family emergencies AND when the semester’s work is already substantially complete (roughly 80%).

Students are asked to come to class on time. Repeated late arrivals will be noted and may affect the final course grade. There is no use of cell phones for calls or for texting during class time.  Students using these devices will be asked to leave and will receive an absence.  Computers may be used for note taking but not for other purposes.  

Scholastic misconduct is broadly defined as "any act that violates the right of another student in academic work or that involves misrepresentation of your own work. Scholastic dishonesty includes, (but is not necessarily limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means misrepresenting as your own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper, or substantially similar papers, to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; or interfering with another student's work.  Any student caught cheating on an exam will receive an F in the course.

Students with disabilities that affect their ability to participate fully in class or to meet all course requirements are encouraged to bring this to the attention of their TA . Accommodations will be made for any students with disabilities if we are told what the needs are and have a minimum amount of time to make accommodations.


Professor: Office hours: Tuesdays 3 - 5:00 pm,  room 3144 CIRS building. Drop in and take your chances or e-mail in advance to set up an appointment during office hours. Please note that most evaluation and direct tutorials will be in the hands of teaching assistants, but I am glad to meet with you and deal with issues that are outside those bounds.

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