The Program on Global Environment offers courses in Environmental and Urban Studies that appeal to  students in all majors. The courses explore the systematic processes and formal and informal relationships of humans to built and natural environments in cities across the globe. See below for details on our Winter 2022 course offerings.

In Spring 2022, we're offering an immersive Chicago Studies Quarter that brings courses on urban ecology, regional planning, and environmental justice in the Calumet together with weekly day-long Friday field trips throughout the region. Learn more about the Calumet Quarter.

See our full list of approved ENST courses.

Winter Quarter 2022

Environmental Effects on Human Health

Alison Anastasio

Mo/We, 1:30–2:50pm

ENST 25460


Given the increasing human population in urban areas and increasing effects of human impacts throughout the world, the way in which the environment contributes to effects on human health can be particularly profound. In this course, students will be introduced to environmental health issues, research, policy, and advocacy. An overview of fundamental concepts in environmental health will be paired with case studies based on current local issues and topical research. Guest lectures by local experts will be featured and discussions will connect biological, chemical, and physical exposures to their real effects on human communities.

a person examining a rusted out car in a wooded area

Environmental Law

Ray Lodato

Tu/Th, 9:30–10:50am

ENST 23100


This course will examine the bases and assumptions that have driven the development of environmental law, as well as the intersection of this body of law and foundational legal principles (including standing, liability, and the Commerce Clause). Each form of lawmaking (statutes, regulations, and court decisions) will be examined, with emphasis on reading and understanding primary sources such as court cases and the laws themselves. The course also analyzes the judicial selection process in order to understand the importance of how the individuals who decide cases that determine the shape of environmental law and regulations are chosen.

a computer-generated visualization of a warehouse renovation in McKinley Park, Chicago

Sociology of Urban Planning: Cities, Territories, Environments

Neil Brenner

Tu/Th, 12:30–1:50pm

ENST 20521


This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning practice under modern capitalism. Building upon urban sociology, planning theory, and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development, and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency, and environmental crisis. Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of “planning” and “urbanization,” we investigate the changing sites and targets of planning; struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of power in modern society (including class, race, gender, and sexuality); and the possibility that new forms of planning might help produce more socially just and environmentally sane forms of urbanization in the future.

aerial view of a dam in a canyon

Making the Natural World: Foundations of Human Ecology

Alison Anastasio

Tu/Th, 12:30–1:50pm

ENST 21301


Humans have “made” the natural world both conceptually, through the creation of various ideas about nature, ecosystem, organism, and ecology; and materially, through millennia of direct action in and on the landscape. In this course, we will consider the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary Western notions of nature, environment, and balance through the examination of specific historical trajectories of anthropogenic landscape modification and human society. Taking examples from current events, we will evaluate the extent and character of human entanglement with the environment. ENST 21301 is required for students completing the Environmental track of the major and minor. 

Woods and swamp in the foreground, industrial buildings in the background

Undergraduate Research Seminar: Chicago Urban Morphology

Michael Conzen

Tu, 2:00–4:50pm

ENST 25012


This seminar is open to third and fourth years, particularly for but not necessarily limited to those in the fields of geography, environmental science, and urban studies. It is designed for students to undertake original research on a topic of their own choosing within the broad scope of Chicago’s built environment. Following a brief reading course in the theoretical literature of urban morphology, each student will identify and select a topic of interest to research using Chicago sources, with the objective of a formal written research paper. Discussions will center around formulating research questions, theoretical underpinnings, suitable methodology, modes of writing, appropriate presentation of evidence, and effective illustration. Sessions will combine open discussion with a rotating series of periodic individual progress reports to the group, reflecting an interesting diversity of topics and mutual support in gaining experience in the research process.

trees growing in a swamp

GIS and Human Ecologies

Sandy Hunter

Tu/Th, 2:00–3:20pm

ENST 25424


This course introduces students to how researchers in the social sciences use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze interactions between humans and the environment. In this class we will critically examine GIS as a way of knowing and representing interactions between humans and the natural world: What are the advantages and limits of spatial data sets? How does using GIS structure the questions researchers ask? How does it make possible new questions? What are the limits of a GIS analysis? Students with an existing foundation in GIS will develop the investigative skills to use ArcGIS software to answer complex research questions. Students will learn to move beyond using GIS to represent data and instead treat it as a tool for evaluating social science research questions. Students will build on assignments to develop their own analytical research project from start to finish, beginning with data procurement and concluding with a final presentation of results.

Urban Geography

Michael Conzen

Tu/Th, 9:30–10:50am

ENST 24660


This course examines the spatial organization and current restructuring of modern cities in light of the economic, social, cultural, and political forces that shape them. It explores the systematic interactions between social process and physical system. We cover basic concepts of urbanism and urbanization, systems of cities, urban growth, migration, centralization and decentralization, land-use dynamics, physical geography, urban morphology, and planning. Field trip in Chicago region required.

a marsh

International Environmental Policy

Ray Lodato

Tu/Th, 2:00–3:20pm

ENST 24776


Environmental issues have become a prominent part of the work of international organizations and their member nations. The international community has recognized the efficacy of multi-national agreements as a method for comprehensive solutions to problems that were once dealt with on a nation-by-nation basis. This course will address such topics as the Montreal Protocol, climate change agreements, and the Law of the Sea treaty, as well as the efforts being undertaken by some leading nations to address present-time environmental challenges.

close up photo of some leaves.

BA Colloquium II

Kristi Del Vecchio

We, 3:00–5:20pm

ENST 29802


This is the second quarter in the ENST and GEOG BA Colloquium Series and is designed to aid students in completing their thesis research. Students will continue their thesis research using a guided structure, presenting and discussing results along the way. All students are encouraged to take this second quarter for thesis success.