Examining a proposal for sustainable urban development.


For this essay, you will critically examine a proposal for sustainable urban development. First, find an article about a plan or proposal for something labeled as sustainable development (anywhere in the world is fine). Below are a few examples. Good resources include The Atlantic’s City Lab (www.citylab.com) or The Guardian (www.theguardian.com/cities). You can also find articles in almost any newspaper or cases from academic journal articles or organization websites (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the World Bank, etc.). Make sure this case study is different than your final project topic.

Read the article and critically assess the project in 3-4 pages (12-point font, 1 inch margins, double spaced). You should NOT simply summarize the article, but assess the project critically, drawing on class readings, videos, discussions, lectures, etc. If you were a resident of the area in question (or sat on a city council, neighborhood association board, etc.), would you support this project? Why or why not? Make use of course materials from the past two weeks and any outside research you need.

Some questions to address:

  • What is the proposed project?
  • Where is the proposed project located? Give some local context.
  • What are the intended outcomes of the proposed project? Do these seem likely?
  • What resources or support are needed to implement this project? Do you or others think this a good use of these resources? Why or why not? (i.e. are their groups opposing the project because fund should be directed elsewhere?)
  • Can this project really be considered urban sustainable development? Think about environment, equity, economy.
  • Who benefits from the project? Who might be excluded or not benefit?
  • Is the project feasible?
  • Do you think there are some unintended outcomes of the project, either good or bad?
  • Are there similar projects elsewhere? Did they fail or succeed? Why?
  • Why systems are involved, and how are they linked through this project? (i.e. transportation, energy, water, waste, food, social services, etc.)

Sample Solution