Summer 2022 - SD 401 E100

Sustainable Development Studio (4)

Class Number: 2553

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    HCC 1530, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    SD 281; one of SD 381 or SD 481; and 75 units.



Engages students in creating innovative solutions to real-world challenges of sustainability and development, using studio-based approaches. Explores mechanisms for effective social and environmental change and develops policies and strategies for implementing sustainability in different locations and at different scales.


This summer the focus is on innovative financing, policy instruments, planning tools, and strategies from around the world for engaging youth in building more sustainable, equitable, green, and resilient communities.

Applying the lens of UN Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights legislation as a global challenge lab where students work with two community partners to design an innovative response to secure more sustainable, equitable, green, and resilient communities that involve youth and art. This semester the challenge is collaborating with several partners in Nairobi, Kenya including the Nairobi Public Spaces Network related to innovative green space finance, street art, policy, and design with a focus on a case study in the City of Nairobi.

SD 401 will be offered in-person with selected lectures virtual to facilitate international speakers. Lectures, guest speakers, group activities and weekly responses are integrated into sessions each week.


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

  • Identify the key elements of Agenda 2030 and SDGs from a theoretical and practical perspective and discuss their relevance to the community level.
  • Describe what ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ mean in the context of community development, placemaking and planning policy, as well as the challenges of employing and operationalizing these terms through a social justice lens in varying urban contexts.
  • Examine and evaluate local and regional sustainability challenges, implications of climate change, and placemaking policies and strategies in a manner that recognizes the relationships between social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental systems.
  • Identify, synthesize, and apply key theories and best practices that inform the field of sustainable, youth-friendly, and resilient place-making through an equity and diversity lens.
  • Express the above through human-centred design, problem-solving, collaboration, mind mapping, policy presentations and more.


  • Participation/Weekly Activities (Individual) 20%
  • Virtual Field Trip Report (June 1st/Individual) 20%
  • Climate Change, Green Spaces and City Policy Blog Post (June 29th /Individual) 20%
  • Applied Human-Centered Challenge Policy Project (July 27th/Virtual Team) 40%


The following provides basic information on the various assignments and assignment options. More detailed descriptions and marking rubrics will be made available at the appropriate times as the course unfolds.

Participation (20%):
This course is structured to maximize student participation, with the instructor and TA providing context and direction to students who in turn deliver a lot of the course content. Each student will be graded on the level of effort and quality of their contribution to the course, including:
* 10% of your engagement with the course readings and in-class discussions, asking questions (of the instructors, speakers, each other), participation in-class activities
* 5% submitting your personal biography/positionality
* 5% attendance in class (if you can’t attend a session, please notify C. Enns)
* note that the grading for this part of the course goes from zero for non-participation to full marks for full participation.



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


Adams, 2016. Searching for a New Normal: Social Practices and Sustainability. In Ecological Crisis, Sustainability, and the Psychosocial Subject: Beyond Behaviour Change. Palgrave Macmillan: London, UK. Pages 67-88.

Agyeman, J., Jayne Engle, and Tim Draimin, 2017. Future Cities: Creating collaborative infrastructure for inclusive urban innovation. Medium. 9bfc85dbbc27 (Links to an external site.)

City of Vancouver Planning and City of Nairobi Planning Documents. (To be provided) Design kit: The field guide to human-centred design. Create account/accessed April 24, 2017. Download PDF. Experiential Graphic Design Create account/accessed April 24, 2017.

Leach, M, S. E. Lee, D. V. Hunt & C. D Rogers, 2017. Improving city-scale measures of livable sustainability: a study of urban measurement and assessment through application to the city of Birmingham, UK. Cities, 71: 80-87.

Pelley, V (2017) The Rise of Public-Sector Crowdfunding. City Lab, Sept 15.

UN Habitat (2021) Cities and Pandemics: Towards a More Just, Green and Healthy Future, Nairobi, UN-Habitat.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.