Urban Planning and Sustainable Development

Urban Planning and Sustainable Development is the implementation of shared visions in both natural settings and urban communities, the exploration of laws and policies that incite environmental change, and the promotion of positive change in the environment. Western’s Urban Planning and Sustainable Development major emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems that face communities from the local to the global level. The program emphasizes a concern for progressive change that is needed towards the design of equitable, healthful, livable, and sustainable communities for present and future generations.

The curriculum combines urban planning, sustainable design, environmental policy, and environmental science to provide students with an understanding of the linkages between urban and natural systems and the multidimensional problems in urban development. Students exit the program with the knowledge and skills necessary to make positive changes towards sustainability in an increasingly complex world.

The Environmental Studies Department is part of Huxley College of the Environment.

Beyond the Classroom

Student work is received and recognized from national and statewide organizations for exceptional problem-solving solutions that use geographic information systems and computer-aided design. Some students are published in The Planet, a student-run publication that combines the environmental focus of Huxley College with the writing and reporting skills of journalism to produce an environmental magazine.

Huxley hosts the Huxley College Speaker Series, which brings guest lecturers to Western’s campus to address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and beyond. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities. Students and Bellingham community members also volunteer for LEAD (Learning Environment Action Discovery), a program designed to help restore native environments and increase biodiversity.

Bringing together even broader communities, Huxley College students have the opportunity to take environmental studies classes in Europe and other parts of the world through a number of faculty-led study abroad summer programs.

Careers and Graduate Studies

This interdisciplinary program prepares students to enter professional fields concerned with the sustainability of the human and natural environment. Graduates are equipped for careers in planning agencies, consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and federal levels of government, as well as advanced graduate study.

Sample Careers

  • Urban Planner
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • County Planner
  • Environmental Public Relations
  • Director of Non-Profit Organizations

Department of Environmental Studies

Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, BA

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