Design for Sustainable Communities: A new project-based class at UC Berkeley

Ashley Murray & Kate Huckelbridge, University of California Berkeley

In response to increasing demand for an engineering class that addresses problems faced by developing communities, a group of UC Berkeley students has designed a project-based course focusing on sustainable and appropriate design. The main goals of the course are to: 1) Explore the vocational identity of engineers as public servants and the role of engineers in global community development; 2) Teach students about whole systems design and the principles of holistic technology design and implementation; and 3) Employ project-based experiential learning. In parallel with classroom discussion and case-based learning,
multi-disciplinary teams of students will work with a local or international community to address real-world design problems, with a focus on innovative design solutions that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Curricula that offer practical experience in combination with an emphasis on sustainable design solutions are the new paradigm for educating engineers of the 21st century.

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