Foundations of Sustainable Systems

Spring 2019
Spring 2018
Beril Toktay
Kim Cobb
Jennifer Hirsch
SLS 3120

How can we accelerate progress towards a more sustainable world? How do we create sustainable systems for the 21st century? This course discusses how to employ a systems framework to advance sustainability at multiple scales, including a community, a region, a supply chain, a company, or an entire nation. The course considers sustainability from its theoretical foundations to its modern-day practice, incorporating environmental, economic, and social dimensions.  Stakeholder views inform discussions of trade-offs between different dimensions of sustainability and how to create systems change.  We will discuss the value and limits of technological, policy and business solutions in the context of climate change, with a focus climate, energy, and community-based approaches to change. We will also explore the role of innovation – both technological and social – as an instrument of systems change. Students will have the opportunity to learn from a variety of guest speakers and to work on a project with a real-world partner.

Students from every major at Georgia Tech would benefit from taking this course, as it is designed to deliver hands-on experience in enacting systems change in complex environments. Climate change is a multi-faceted, global-scale threat that will touch every industry, and every city and community within the coming decades, if it hasn't already. Solutions will come from every sector of the economy, with outsize benefits for those individuals, companies, and communities that provide effective, scalable models for systems change as early as possible.

Note that this course fulfills requirements in two SLS Signature Programs: Sustainable Cities Minor and Innovating for Social Impact.

Questions: Contact Kim Cobb (kcobb@gatech.edu), Jennifer Hirsch (jennifer.hirsch@gatech.edu) or Beril Toktay (beril.toktay@scheller.gatech.edu).

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