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Johns Hopkins University

Sustainable Neighborhoods

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera


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This course will provide students with an introduction to tools and concepts for a better understanding of the importance of the neighborhood as part of a sustainable city. This will include a careful look at the natural context of successful neighborhoods. An evaluation of important components and structure that create a sustainable neighborhood. Complete neighborhoods can provide their residents with pedestrian access to schools, daycare, recreational centers, and a variety of open spaces, as well as opportunities for food production. These and other aspects of sustainable neighborhoods will be carefully evaluated in this course. There will also be case studies of neighborhood development projects in Houston, TX, San Antonio, TX, and Chattanooga, TN. And lastly, the course will review the importance of zoning on sustainable neighborhoods with a particular focus on form-based zoning. By the end of this course, you will be able to: • Construct general plans for urban parks and natural corridors for achieving natural context neighborhoods. • Analyze how neighborhood schools, support services and civic sites contribute to neighborhood livability and sustainability. • Examine how local open space and housing density can be balanced as neighborhood components to achieve sustainable communities. • Evaluate the aspects of neighborhood structure that include packet parks, open-space configurations, and transit orientation in communities. • Apply lessons learned from the evaluation of three case studies at the Buffalo Bayou project in Houston, Texas, the Pearl District project in San Antonio Texas, and 21st century waterfront project in Chattanooga Tennessee. • Explain the importance of zoning for sustainable neighborhoods with a particular focus on form-based zoning. Example backgrounds that would be helpful for students to succeed in this course: - To have a general understanding of how public/private projects are planned and implemented - Have a strong interest or experience in planning and developing regional sustainable development plans - Familiar with how government organizations function in the areas of transportation planning and project development - Served as a volunteer committee member or leader on regional transportation projects and/or regional policy development initiatives - Have a background and interest in environmental protection plans and projects - A general knowledge of regional transportation project planning and implementation - General knowledge or experience in public participation in governmental policy development - A strong interest and/or experience in improving the urban environment for the benefit of its citizens - Have a general knowledge of legal and policy issues involved in sustainable development - Have experience or general knowledge of social equity issues


  • The Natural Context of a Sustainable Neighborhood
    • Every neighborhood has its own unique characteristics, culture, special assets, and citizen interests. In this module you will analyze five elements of natural context for successful sustainable neighborhoods. There will also be a case study of the Buffalo Bayou Project in Houston, TX.
  • Neighborhood Components
    • Lesson 1 of this module addresses six neighborhood components that are important for sustainable cities. Lesson 2 addresses seven additional neighborhood components that are important to sustainable cities. The module concludes with Lesson 3, which addresses the Pearl District project that took an abandoned brewery and changed it into a vibrant asset in a San Antonio neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood Structure
    • This module begins by addressing six neighborhood structures that are important for sustainable cities. We then conclude by evaluating a case study of the 21st Century Waterfront Project in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Taught by

William Roper


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 45 ratings

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