Courses Offered

For the full list of approved Environmental and Urban Studies courses: click here.


Autumn 2019

Track Legend

2018/19 Requirements
EEP: Environmental Economics and Policy
SNS: Socio-Natural Systems and Frameworks
UE: Urban Environment
ES: Environmental Science
2019/20 Requirements
UT: Urban Track
ET: Environmental Track
USS: Urban Social Science
EL: Experiential Learning

*denotes new course

ENST 12300. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. ES
This course presents the science behind the forecast of global warming to enable the student to evaluate the likelihood and potential severity of anthropogenic climate change in the coming centuries. It includes an overview of the physics of the greenhouse effect, including comparisons with Venus and Mars; an overview of the carbon cycle in its role as a global thermostat; predictions and reliability of climate model forecasts of the greenhouse world. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, Climate Change, Culture, and Society. (L)
Instructor: Douglas R Macayeal
M W F 9:30-10:20am

ENST 20510. Introduction to Spatial Data Science. UE, UT, USS
Spatial data science consists of a collection of concepts and methods drawn from both statistics and computer science that deal with accessing, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about geographical data. The course introduces the types of spatial data relevant in social science inquiry and reviews a range of methods to explore these data. Topics covered include formal spatial data structures, geovisualization and visual analytics, rate smoothing, spatial autocorrelation, cluster detection and spatial data mining. An important aspect of the course is to learn and apply open source software tools, including R and GeoDa.
Instructors: Luc Anselin, Marynia Kolak
M W: 1:30-2:50pm

ENST 20550. Computing for the Social Sciences. UE, UT
This is an applied course for social scientists with little programming experience who wish to use computational analysis in their research. After completion of this course, students will be able to write basic programs that fulfill their own research needs. Major topics to be covered include data wrangling, data exploration, functional programming, statistical modeling, and reproducible research. Students will also learn how to parse text files, scrape data from other sources, create and query relational databases, implement parallel processes, and manage digital projects. Class meetings will be a combination of lecture and laboratory sessions, and students will complete weekly programming assignments as well as a final research project. Assignments will be completed primarily using the open-source R and Python programming languages and the version control software Git.
Instructor: Benjamin Soltoff
T Th: 12:30-1:50pm

ENST 21201. Human Impact On The Global Environment
The goal of this course is to analyze the impact of the human enterprise on the world that sustains it. Topics include human population dynamics, historical trends in human well-being, and our use of natural resources-especially in relation to the provision of energy, water, and food-and the impacts that these activities have on the range of goods and services provided by geological/ecological systems. We read and discuss diverse sources and write short weekly papers. ENST 21201 and 21301 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental Studies and may be taken in any order. Equivalent Course(s): NCDV 21201
Instructor: Alison Anastasio
T Th: 11:00-12:20pm

ENST 21220. Cities Through Space and Time
This course introduces you to cities. What are cities? Where do they come from? How do they work? In Calvino's words, what are the "invisible reasons that make cities live"? And, crucially, how can cities be better than they are today? In investigating these questions, we will explore the spatial, economic, cultural, political, and social aspects of cities, including topics like industrialization, transportation technologies, social movements, gentrification, and environmental design. We will examine case studies drawn from both the Global North and South that will help us see how the ideas we explore are being worked out in actual practice in cities, and we will also explore the qualitative, quantitative, and spatial tools used for studying cities. Class sessions will involve a mix of (interactive) lectures, discussion, and exercises. Outside class, the primary work will be reading selected texts and writing responses. There will also be a midterm and a final exam. Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 21220
Instructor: Evan Carver
MWF: 9:30-10:20am

ENST 21440. (Re)constructing Nature: Restoration Ecology in a Time of Climate Change. UE, SNS, UT, ET
Restoration ecologists, environmental professionals, and average citizens all participate in the process of habitat restoration. How does this interdisciplinary practice balance the priorities of ecosystem function and services, conservation of imperiled species and habitats, aesthetic appeal, and human use in a dynamic climate? In this course students will gain a broad overview of the field of restoration ecology and approach it from scientific, practical, and humanistic perspectives using scientific literature, case studies, and planning documents.
Instructor: Alison Anastasio
M W 2:30-4:20pm

ENST 21800. Economics and Environmental Policy. EEP, UE, ET, UT
This course combines basic microeconomic theory and tools with contemporary environmental and resources issues and controversies to examine and analyze public policy decisions. Theoretical points include externalities, public goods, common-property resources, valuing resources, benefit/cost analysis, and risk assessment. Topics include pollution, global climate change, energy use and conservation, recycling and waste management, endangered species and biodiversity, nonrenewable resources, congestion, economic growth and the environment, and equity impacts of public policies.
Instructor: Sabina Shaikh
T Th: 9:30-10:50am

ENST 22209. Philosophies of Environmentalism and Sustainability. SNS, ET
Many of the toughest ethical and political challenges confronting the world today are related to environmental issues: for example, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, and other threats to the well-being of both present and future generations. Using both classic and contemporary works, this course will highlight some of the fundamental and unavoidable philosophical questions presented by such environmental issues. What do the terms "nature" and "wilderness" even mean, and can "natural" environments as such have ethical and/or legal standing? Does the environmental crisis demand radically new forms of ethical and political philosophizing and practice? Must an environmental ethic reject anthropocentrism? If so, what are the most plausible non-anthropocentric alternatives? What counts as the proper ethical treatment of non-human animals, living organisms, or ecosystems? What fundamental ethical and political perspectives inform such approaches as the "Land Ethic," ecofeminism, and deep ecology? Is there a plausible account of justice for future generations? Are we now in the Anthropocene? Is "adaptation" the best strategy at this historical juncture? How can the wild, the rural, and the urban all contribute to a better future for Planet Earth? (A)
Instructor: Reynolds Barton Schultz
M W: 1:30-2:50PM

ENST 23500. Political Sociology. EEP, UE, ET, UT
This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored. The course covers readings for the Sociology Ph.D Prelim exam in political sociology.
Instructor: Elisabeth Clemens
M W: 3:00-4:20PM

ENST 23900. Environmental Chemistry. ES
The focus of this course is the fundamental science underlying issues of local and regional scale pollution. In particular, the lifetimes of important pollutants in the air, water, and soils are examined by considering the roles played by photochemistry, surface chemistry, biological processes, and dispersal into the surrounding environment. Specific topics include urban air quality, water quality, long-lived organic toxins, heavy metals, and indoor air pollution. Control measures are also considered. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Climate Change, Culture, and Society.
Instructor: David Archer
M W F: 10:30-11:20AM

ENST 24190. Imagining Chicago's Common Buildings. UE, UT, USS, EL
This class is an architectural studio based in the common residential buildings of Chicago and the city's built environment. While design projects and architectural skills will be the focus of the class, it will also incorporate readings, a small amount of writing, some social and geographical history, and several explorations around Chicago. The studio will: (1) give students interested in pursuing architecture or the study of cities experience with a studio class and some skills related to architectural thinking, (2) acquaint students intimately with Chicago's common residential buildings and built fabric, and (3) situate all this within a context of social thought about residential architecture, common buildings, housing, and the city. Please note: the class has required meetings on both Tuesdays (5-6:20) and Fridays (2:30-5:50, with a break) beginning on Tuesday October 2nd. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Urban Design.
Instructor: Luke Joyner
W: 4:30-5:50pm F: 3:00-5:50pm

ENST 24600. Introduction to Urban Sciences. UE, EEP, ET, UT (Required for UT)
This course is a grand tour of conceptual frameworks, general phenomena, emerging data and policy applications that define a growing scientific integrated understanding of cities and urbanization. It starts with a general outlook of current worldwide explosive urbanization and associated changes in social, economic and environmental indicators. It then introduces a number of historical models, from sociology, economics and geography that have been proposed to understand how cities operate. We will discuss how these and other facets of cities can be integrated as dynamical complex systems and derive their general characteristics as social networks embedded in structured physical spaces. Resulting general properties of cities will be illustrated in different geographic and historical contexts, including an understanding of urban resource flows, emergent institutions and the division of labor and knowledge as drivers of innovation and economic growth. The second part of the course will deal with issues of inequality, heterogeneity and (sustainable) growth in cities. We will explore how these features of cities present different realities and opportunities to different individuals and how these appear as spatially concentrated (dis)advantage that shape people's life courses. We will show how issues of inequality also have consequences at more macroscopic levels and derive the general features of population and economic growth for systems of cities and nations.
Instructor: Luis Bettencourt
T Th: 12:30-1:50pm

ENST 24680. Introduction to Urban Planning. EEP, UE, UT, USS
The academic study of urban planning encompasses a range of issues dealing with cities, from urban design to governance, economic development, local politics, and place. The goal of this course is to provide a broad overview of urban planning theory and history while at the same time introducing students to basic GIS applications for urban planners. This format provides students with a better contextual understanding of the wide range of issues currently facing 21st century cities, and at the same time serves as an introduction to the everyday practice of urban planning. The course includes readings from prominent urban theorists, a discussion of the historical development of the urban planning profession in the US, and GIS exercises that allow students to apply their theoretical urban knowledge to real-world planning problems.
Instructor: Kevin Credit
T Th: 11:00-12:20pm

ENST 24701. U.S. Environmental Policy. EEP, UE, ET, UT
Making environmental policy is a diverse and complex process. Environmental advocacy engages different governmental agencies, congressional committees, and courts, depending on the issue. This course examines how such differentiation has affected policy making over the last several decades.
Instructor: Ray Lodato
T Th: 2:00-3:20pm

ENST 25006. How Things Get Done in Cities and Why. SNS, UE, UT, USS
Innovation. Prosperity. Democracy. Diversity. Cities long have been lauded as unique incubators of these social features. In contrast to the national level, the smaller scale and dense diversity of cities is thought to encourage the development of civic solutions that work for the many. But cities are inhabited by distinct groups of people with divergent interests and varied beliefs about how to address countless urban issues, such as creating jobs, delivering education, ensuring safe neighborhoods, promoting environmental sustainability, and taking care of the vulnerable. Many groups and organizations have an interest in the outcomes of these processes. Some take action to try to shape them to their own advantage, while others have few chances to make themselves heard. This course examines dynamics of interest representation, decision-making, and inclusion/exclusion in the contemporary city, drawing insights from multiple disciplines and substantive domains. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Urban Design.
Instructor: Nicole Marwell
M W: 3:00-4:20pm

ENST 25114. Natural History and Empire, circa 1500-1800. SNS, ET
This course will examine natural history-broadly defined as a systematic, observational body of knowledge devoted to describing and understanding the physical world of plants, animals, natural environments, and (sometimes) people-in the context of European imperial expansion during the early modern era. Natural history was upended by the first European encounters with the New World. The encounter with these new lands exposed Europeans for the first time to unknown flora and fauna, which required acute empirical observation, collection, cataloguing, and circulation between periphery and metropole in order to understand their properties and determine their usefulness. As the Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch competed with one another to establish overseas trade and military networks in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, they also competed over and shared information on natural resources. The course will combine lecture and discussion and mix primary source readings on natural history in the early modern world with modern historical writings. Though the readings skew a bit toward Britain and the British Atlantic world, every effort has been made to include texts and topics from multiple European and colonial locales. 
Instructor: Justin Niermeier Dohoney
M W: 1:30-2:50pm

ENST 26005. Cities by Design. UE, UT, USS
This course examines the theory and practice of city design-how, throughout history, people have sought to mold and shape cities in pre-determined ways. The form of the city is the result of myriad factors, but in this course we will hone in on the purposeful act of designing cities according to normative thinking-ideas about how cities ought to be. Using examples from all time periods and places around the globe, we will examine how cities are purposefully designed and what impact those designs have had. Where and when has city design been successful, and where has it resulted in more harm than good?
Instructor: Emily Talen 
M W: 4:30-5:50pm

ENST 26100. Roots of the Modern American City. EEP, UE, ET, UT
This course traces the economic, social, and physical development of the city in North America from pre-European times to the mid-twentieth century. We emphasize evolving regional urban systems, the changing spatial organization of people and land use in urban areas, and the developing distinctiveness of American urban landscapes. All-day Illinois field trip required. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, Urban Design.
Instructor: Michael P Conzen
T Th: 9:30-10:50am

ENST 26255. Environmental Justice Field Research Project I. EEP, UE, ET, UT
This two-quarter sequence will expose students to real-world policy-making questions and field-based research methodologies to design an environmentally based research project, collect data, conduct analysis, and present findings. In the first quarter, we will follow a robust methodological training program in collaboration with University partners to advance the foundations laid elsewhere in the public policy studies program. In the second quarter, this expertise in a full range of research methodologies will be put into practice to tackle public policy problems in the city and neighborhoods that surround the University. PBPL 26255 and PBPL 26355 satisfy the Public Policy practicum Windows and Methods requirements.
Instructor: Ray Lodato
T Th: 3:30-4:50pm

ENST 26330. ReRooting: Cultivating the Ecology of Place. EEP, SNS, UE, ET, UT, EL, USS
At its core, "ReRooting: Cultivating the Ecology of Place" will unpack the conceptual underpinnings as well as the practical applications of urban ecological theory as applied to the interplay between humans, biological systems, and the abiotic environment. While the field of urban ecology shares many features with the biological science of ecology, it also emphasizes linkages across the social, economic, and physical sciences with the humanities. However, in order to disentangle the dynamic complexity of human-environment relations in cities as related to the interconnected urban biophysical, socio-economic, and political processes of urban systems, we will examine how concepts in natural science ecology, environmental studies, geography, urban planning, architecture, art and design, sociology, and public policies intersect. Additionally, we will use the Perry Ave Commons as "living laboratories" and apply these theories and concepts to laboratory exercises, field observation, case studies, and research on contemporary urban sustainability initiatives.
F: 10:30-1:20pm

ENST 27155. Urban Design with Nature. EEP, SNS, UE, ET, UT, USS
This course will use the Chicago region as a laboratory for evaluating the social, environmental, and economic effects of alternative forms of human settlement. Students will be introduced to the basics of geographic information systems (GIS) and use GIS to map Chicago's "place types" - human habitats that vary along an urban-to-rural transect, as well as the ecosystem services provided by the types. They will then evaluate these place types using a range of social, economic and environmental criteria. In this way, students will evaluate the region's potential to simultaneously realize economic potential, protect environmental health, and provide social connectivity. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Urban Design.
Instructors: Sabina Shaikh and Emily Talen
W: 11:30-2:20pm

ENST 27400. Epidemiology and Population Health. ES
This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiologic study design, analysis, and interpretation through lectures, assignments, and critical appraisal of both classic and contemporary research articles.
Instructor: Diane Lauderdale
T Th: 3:30-4:50pm

ENST 28800. Readings in Spatial Analysis. UE, UT
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore special topics in the exploration, visualization and statistical modeling of geospatial data.
Instructors: Luc Anselin, Kevin Credit, Marynia Kolak

ENST 28925. Health Impacts of Transportation Policies. UE, UT
Governments invest in transport infrastructure because it encourages economic growth and mobility of people and goods, which have direct and indirect benefits to health. Yet, an excessive reliance on motorized modes of transport harms population health, the environment, and social well-being. The impact on population health is substantial: Globally, road traffic crashes kill over 1.3 million annually. Air pollution, to which transport is an important contributor, kills another 3.2 million people. Motorized modes of transport are also an important contributor to sedentary lifestyles. Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths every year, globally. This course will introduce students to thinking about transportation as a technological system that affects human health and well-being through intended and unintended mechanisms. The course will examine the complex relationship between transportation, land use, urban form, and geography, and explore how decisions in other sectors affect transportation systems, and how these in turn affect human health. Students will learn to recognize how the system level properties of a range of transportation systems (such as limited-access highways, urban mass transit, inter-city rail) affect human health.
Instructor: Kavi Bhalla

ENST 28980. Readings in Urban Planning and Design. UE, UT
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore contemporary debates and theoretical arguments involved in the planning and design of cities.
Instructor: Emily Talen

ENST 29000. Energy and Energy Policy. EEP, ET, UT
This course shows how scientific constraints affect economic and other policy decisions regarding energy, what energy-based issues confront our society, how we may address them through both policy and scientific study, and how the policy and scientific aspects can and should interact. We address specific technologies, both those now in use and those under development, and the policy questions associated with each, as well as with more overarching aspects of energy policy that may affect several, perhaps many, technologies.
Instructors: R Stephen Berry, George S Tolley
W: 1:30-4:20pm