Global Sustainability


There is a number of challenges and obstacles to achieve sustainable development goals. Select one of the SDGs that you see as most pressing and identify the obstacles that may prevent from achieving it. Explain these obstacles challenges demonstrating your understanding of how they connect to sustainability on global scale.

The implementation of Sustainable Consumption & Productions (SCP) helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty. In the light of the SDG you selected, and among the 4 policy instruments we discussed in class, what are the top two policy instruments you would use to overcome the obstacles of your selected goal? (select only two policy instruments)

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)



Sustainability of the Natural & the Built Environment



Homogenous Environmental seb-Zones. Part of a land suitability exercise along the Red Sea coast

Sustainability in both the natural and built environment is a major issue facing policy-makers, planners, developers and designers. There is no project, neighborhood or city that have yet achieved the right sustainability balance (the 3 Es). The assessment and exploration of existing built forms allows us to learn more about weaknesses that can be enhanced and improved in future projects, plans and designs.

(1) Based on the lecture and discussions in class, please write a single page introducing the most significant environmental components influencing the area you live in. Give examples of how such factors interact with or influence people’s life.

(2) In one page, mention and explain two major elements of the built environment that are crucial to sustainable development but not implemented properly in your area and will impact people’s quality of life.

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)

Evolution of Urbanization & Sustainable Development Concept


When: January 1, 1942, Who: representatives of 26 nations   |   Where:  Washington DC  |  Action: Signing the Declaration of the United Nations   |   Official Declaration: 24 October 1945

In the urbanization process through human history, sustainable development is a concept that was introduced recently. Write your own definition/understanding of the concept and why the current definition by the UN (our common future report) may be insufficient. And then mention the top milestones in the evolution of urbanization process and why do you think these are the ones that influenced the development process more.

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)


Solutions for people to erect affordable, stable and sustainable homes | Pakistan

“Earth Home Project” investigates the rising challenges Pakistanis in rural areas have to face. The focus is on trying to find applicable solutions for people to erect affordable, stable and sustainable homes. Architecture plays a crucial role in finding new ways of designing by incorporating local materials and building techniques, thereby minimizing not only the cost but most importantly the reliance on the economic situation. The project started in Pakistan in 2011, initiated by Irshad Balouch, as a direct response to the flood that devastated his country during the summer of 2010 and the lack of support people in rural areas where given following the loss of their land. For most it is strictly impossible to build their houses on their own; the inflation in the cost of basic building materials forcing those able to acquire a loan to take on life-long debts often resulting in the loss of their land. The goal of the project is to acquire, develop and spread the necessary know-how required to build stable constructions, by involving residents of flood affected areas into the process of rebuilding their houses, accompanied by skilled craftsmen, employed by the project, and neighbors, there on a voluntary basis. The project (thanks to donations) is able to cover the unavoidable expenses of some basic building materials such as concrete and burned bricks for strong foundations, wood for window and door frames as well as basic tools. Locally sourced materials such as earth, straw and bamboo, contribute to the sustainability of the design since they are highly accessible, do not require heavy machinery, and empower people by virtue of those materials being relatively easy to acquire and handle. Sustainability, understood as an environmentally as well as socially responsible answer therefor becomes the starting point for the type of architectural thinking at the heart of “Earth Home Project”. Architecture can do more than just provide blueprints for prepackaged products of consumption if it integrates the process of construction and the production of materials as an integral part of what defines it. The hope is that this will enable the community to be more prepared against future disasters resulting from climate change. They will be able to rely on their neighbors and their own abilities to build up their life despite the cruel and unjust conditions of the economy which is pushing many into desperation and towards the margins. So far the endeavor has been able to help raise 121 homes around the area of Multan, which had been very badly affected by the flood due to its position in the Indus river basin.

By: Amandin Richard

NEXT PRACTICES: Cities + Water


Brian Jencek, HOK Global Director of Design and Planning, explores multi-disciplinary design solutions to emerging challenges in our built environment.  This presentation focuses on HOK’s current climate responsive projects that are designing new territories between cities and their waterfronts around the world.

Urban Forest of Africa | Johannesburg, Lagos & Cairo

By: Joe McBride

The urban forests of Johannesburg, Lagos, and Cairo were surveyed to provide a data base for a comparison of their composition, structure, and condition.  Tree species diversity in these three urban forests was compared to the species diversity of trees in each biome in which the city occurred and to climatic parameters of each biome to measure the correlation between urban forest characteristics and the characteristics of the biomes.  Structure of the urban forest was examined in relation to historical precedents for urban design in each city.  Current problems of urban forest condition and management are discussed.

To obtain a copy of the presentation, click on the link below:

Urban Forest of Africa (Johanesburg, Lagos & Cairo)

Delineating the Coast of Salalah Using Remote Sensing | Oman

By: Amna Alruheili


This study focuses on quantifying shoreline change through the use of remote sensing techniques, multi-temporal Landsat images, on the southern region of Oman’s coast (Dhofar, Salalah). The coastal shoreline of Dhofar Governance witnessed a major cyclone in 2002. As a result, morphological changes including the accretion and erosion of the coastline along Salalah took place.

In this study, coastline changes were researched using radiometrically and geometrically corrected multitemporal and multi-spectral data from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) dated 1984 and 1998, Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) 2002, and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) dated 2015. In the image processing steps, band rationing (B4/B2) and digitizing were used to carry out coastline extraction, and the Digital Shoreline Analysis System was used to calculate the rate of coastline changes. In some parts of the research area, remarkable coastline changes of more than 56.4 m withdrawal and -0.9 m/year erosion were observed in 2002.