Spring 2021 - REM 281 D100

Sustainable Communities, Sustainable World (3)

Class Number: 7646

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Prerequisites:

    30 units.



Introduces the challenges and opportunities for developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world, through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Builds an understanding of strengths and weaknesses of conventional approaches to development and of sustainable development. Emphasis on urban areas in the Global North and Global South. Students with credit for SCD 201 or REM 201 or SD 281 may not complete this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Every week students will go on a journey through one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore exciting solutions from Canada and beyond. Students will virtually meet relevant experts in our weekly “Meet the Expert” episodes who will introduce them to some of the challenges and opportunities for developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world. These experts will share their own journey through the path of sustainable development and provide practical lessons learned, and examples of how their projects helped address one of the SDGs. Whether students are interested in food security, water scarcity, gender equity, climate change mitigation, sustainable cities and planning, marine biodiversity, conservation, and more, they will find that the goal of developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world will require an interdisciplinary and systemic approach. This course will also challenge dominant approaches to development and promote an emphasis on cooperation and partnership. Case studies will highlight examples from the Global North and the Global South. This course will help prepare students to connect the dots and move from the classroom, into real world action.

Course Format: Asynchronous lectures


At the end of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Understand the interconnectedness of sustainable development goals.
  • Identify a range of strategies and approaches to sustainable development and how these strategies can contribute towards sustainable communities and a sustainable world.
  • Apply key frameworks for analyzing sustainability practice.
  • Design and apply innovative strategies to promote sustainable development.
  • Understand the personal attributes, skills and ethical foundations needed for sustainability practice and planning.
  • Perform a critical analysis to hone critical thinking and critical writing


  • Assignments 50%
  • Participation 20%
  • Take home exam 30%



Access to computer and internet.


Required readings available on-line (Canvas), through library, or will be emailed to students via the course email list. Students are not required to purchase a textbook.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).