Urban resilience and sustainability (URS) is a new kind of professional practice that incorporates the principles of sustainable development. It emerged as a distinct field about 15 years ago, circa 2007, with the establishment of positions such as the chief sustainability officer in the private sector and the urban sustainability director in the public sector. URS professionals are primarily manager-leaders who possess expertise across various disciplines, including planning, law, policy, engineering, and management.

The main focus of URS careers is to develop and implement sustainability plans, climate action/protection plans, and resilience plans within organizations and government departments. These professionals work across organizational functions and policy areas to create strategies and policies that promote sustainability. They are responsible for designing, managing, and leading resilience and sustainability policies, programs, and plans.

The MENV Urban Resilience and Sustainability (URS) specialization is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to become leaders in resilience and sustainability. Taught by experienced sustainability professionals and researchers, the program covers theoretical frameworks and practical skills necessary for effective planning and management across sectors. The goal is to build and lead resilient, sustainable communities and institutions.

Guiding Principles

  1. Learning about Resiliency through Key URS Topics: We cover a range of topics relevant to urban resilience and sustainability, including climate action and resilience planning, land conservation, smart growth, systems thinking, social equity, transportation, and water and green infrastructure.
  2. Providing Analytical and Managerial Tools: Students acquire essential analytical and managerial tools necessary for addressing sustainability challenges. These tools enable them to assess critical environmental and social policy issues, develop equitable solutions, and engage with diverse community partners.
  3. Building Sustainable Communities: We emphasize the importance of building resilient and sustainable communities and institutions. Effective planning, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement are highlighted as crucial components of this process.
  4. Practicing an Interdisciplinary Approach: We take an interdisciplinary approach, combining theoretical frameworks and practical skills required for effective planning and management across sectors. Students are exposed to various disciplines such as planning, law, policy, engineering, and management.
  5. Visioning for a Sustainable Future: We aim to inspire students to work towards a bold vision of what could be but isn't yet. We encourage students to think creatively and envision sustainable futures for communities and institutions.