European cities are generally more sustainable than their American counterparts, with the proportion of material and energy consumed for the daily needs of a single person ranking a third to 50% less, while the quality of life rates higher. This difference derives partly from the pre-industrial origins of European cities and partly from a conscientious effort by politicians and administrators to encourage life style and energy alternatives that reduce greenhouse gases. While laws, techniques, and design have a lot to do with the difference, lifestyle is perhaps the strongest factor. Students in this course will pursue three methods of study: a critical exploration of the history, social dimensions, and scientific premises of ecological awareness; development of a case study, becoming an expert on one factor of sustainability in one particularly well-organized European city; and participation in the tabulation of a full range of factors in an overall Urban Sustainability Index that can be applied to any city (including Florence). The course includes Florence site visits and an optional weekend trip to Basel/Freiberg (Germany), one of the most demonstrably sustainable cities in the world.
Can also be registered as GEO 400.2.
Course-related fee: A fee will be billed from Syracuse to cover the costs of required trips (2017–2018 fee = $55). Fees for the optional trip are payable abroad with a credit card.