Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Environmental Justice. Urban Development

Environmental Justice. Urban Development
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Teaching staff

Teaching staff are available by appointment through email.



Dr Isabelle Anguelovski

Dr Hug March


This intensive course will examine the theory and practice of sustainable development and environmental justice in cities, looking most specifically at the community and neighborhood scale and considering the experience and needs of historically marginalized groups in cities. We will explore the political economy, policy, and planning processes that create unequal and unsustainable urban communities, including loss of rural livelihoods and rural migration and uncontrolled development in the global south, and deindustrialization, urban flight, unequal development, and gentrification in the global north. Discussions will also consider the dynamics of uneven investment and municipal abandonment in both contexts. We will examine the consequences of such processes on people’s quality of life, and focus most specifically on poor communities’ exposure to environmental hazards and neglect and their lack of access to environmental goods, services, and healthy housing. The course will also bring in a variety of cases from around the world where innovative principles, tools, and techniques have been used to equitably revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the environmental quality and livability of places for people. These cases will shed light on the conditions and processes that can lead to community reconstruction, place-remaking, economic security, and environmental justice in cities. Lastly some discussions will take place around the environmental justice dimensions of climate change impacts and climate change adaptation.

We will focus on exploring the implications for practice and policy, which will be discussed within the seminar, and the mechanisms, social, political and economic necessary to make change possible and lasting. A particular focus of this seminar will be two evaluative frameworks emerging in the field which have the hope to empower all stakeholders in this process.


To teach students about the deeper processes and decisions behind unequal development and environmental inequalities in cities

To familiarize students with the theories of sustainable development and environmental equity and justice

Understanding role of metrics that to identify, guide and measure progress in a project in the field.

Understanding of role of empirical (engineering, statistical, epidemiological knowledge) in a project and the view of a project from this perspective.

Understanding the competing values, and world views represented by these projects


  • 02 - That students may be capble of integrating knowledge and face the complexity of formulating their opinion from information which may be incomplete or limited, and that include reflections on the ethic and social responsibilities related to the area of cooperation and arquitecture in post disaster situations.
  • 04 - That students may acquire the learning capacities in order to continue studying in an individual and selfmanaged way in the field of international cooperation.
  • 06 - Aquire a specialized knowledge in the management of materials and human resources for each project development
  • 14 - To know and apply the practical and theoretical principles for the conservation of sustainable resources in urban development.
  • 20 - Acknowledge local resources related to energy systems and apply them to constructions.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to understand the processes and dynamics that create unequal and unsustainable urban territories.

Students will be able to apply theories of sustainable development, urban development and growth, urban movements, and environmental justice to the urban territories in which they will conduct research or work professionally.

Students will be able to evaluate the ability of projects and programs on the ground to create more just and sustainable communities and consider alternatives if such projects and programs might lead to inequitable and unsustainable solutions for people on the ground.

Teaching and learning activities

In person


Questions and answers based on lectures

Group facilitated discussions on readings

Small group work

Group presentations

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

Participation in discussion

Individual Commentary on Documentary

Group work and presentation (in class)

Bibliography and resources

Basic bibliography listed below, class material will be provided prior.


Agyeman, J. and S. Zavetoski (2015) Incomplete Streets: Processes, practices, and possibilities. Routledge.


Anguelovski, I. (2013) Beyond a livable and green neighborhood: Asserting control, sovereignty, and transgression in the Casc Antic of Barcelona. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37, 1012-34.


Corburn, J. (2009) Toward the healthy city: people, places, and the politics of urban planning. MIT Press, Cambridge. Introd. Chapter


Gould, K., & Lewis, T. (2012). The Environmental Injustice of Green Gentrification: The Case of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. In J. DeSena & T. Shortell (Eds.), The World in Brooklyn: Gentrification, Immigration, and Ethnic Politics in a Global City (pp. 113-146). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.


Mohai, P., D. Pellow and J.T. Roberts (2009) Environmental justice. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 34, 405-30.


McClintock, N. (2011) From Industrial Garden to Food Desert: Demarcated Devaluation in the Flatlands of Oakland, California. In A. Alkon and J. Agyeman (eds.), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability, MIT Press, Cambridge.


Roy, A. (2011). Slumdog cities: rethinking subaltern urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35(2), 223-238.


Swanson, K. (2007) Revanchist urbanism heads south: the regulation of indigenous beggars and street vendors in Ecuador. Antipode 39, 708-28.