SBS Course Profile: Sustainable Community Development 333 explores how to build sustainability into local economies

Solar Canopy
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Students majoring in Sustainable Community Development (SCD) at the University of Massachusetts explore how to use planning and design to create a more sustainable world; learning in an innovative sustainability-focused program. Now, a new course offering for Spring 2018, SUSTCOMM 333, will expand opportunities to learn how economic development contributes to the balance of economy, environment, and equity that make up sustainability.

“Much of the discussion in the media is about economic development at the level of employment and economic trends. Yet most of the interventions, especially those dealing with social equity and community life, are at the local level,” explains Wayne Feiden, Lecturer of Practice at UMass.

The class, titled Introduction to Community Economic Development, is a requirement for SCD majors in the City and Society concentration. Students from other majors across campus can also take SUSTCOMM 333 for the one of the general education requirements in the Social and Cultural Diversity curriculum area.

“We’ll explore how to help make communities thrive, how to respond to disinvestment in industrial and low-income communities, and how to help make local economies serve local residents,” Feiden explains. He’ll also bring his practical knowledge of local-level projects from his role off-campus; he is the Director of Planning and Sustainability for the city of Northampton, MA.

Class meetings will combine lectures, student presentations, and discussions. The coursework examines real world opportunities and challenges happening in communities. There are two key takeaways Feiden is hoping to convey: how communities become more vibrant and create wealth and mobility at all income levels, and methods for identifying economic challenges and opportunities in local communities.

“Students interested in sustainability need a background in community economic development, which is about building sustainability into the economy at the local level. Any student who is interested in either sustainability or cities and local governments would benefit from the course,” he says.

The course meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5:15 pm in 201 Herter Hall.

Register for the course on Spire