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Sustainable Cities: Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Design

Theme: 
Innovation and Design, Natural Systems, Peace and Justice
Grade: 
9, 10, 11, 12
Essential questions
What does sustainability mean in an urban context and how can we create nature-based solutions to solve urban challenges?

This lesson is divided into four parts. In Part 1, students describe their vision of a sustainable city, identify the challenges facing cities, and describe ecosystem services provided by nature.

In Part 2, students explore the ways in which humans have changed the environment. Sustainable cities are much more than places where humans and nature coexist productively – they are cities in which all people, regardless of their race, color, income and so on have equal access to a healthy environment in which they can flourish. In designing sustainable cities, planners must incorporate environmental justice ideals.

In Part 3, students explore the concept of environmental justice and explore data and current events that illustrate instances where environmental injustices have occurred. This part of the lesson will guide them into finding resources that will help them become more involved in their communities.

Lastly in Part 4, students take an active role in mapping their communities and planning, designing, and proposing a project. Specific instructions for mapping impermeable surfaces and designing natural areas using Google My Maps are included.

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