Urban Areas and Global Change

Increasing urbanization and global environmental change are two of the grand challenges of the Anthropocene. Although these seem to be at very different scales – local versus global – there are many important connections between these two challenges. Aggregated globally, effects of urbanization constitute some of the most significant human impacts on the functioning of Earth as a system. This class examines the interactions and relationships between urbanization and global change at local, regional, and global scales with an emphasis on the biophysical aspects of urbanization and their relevance for the earth system modeling. Topics include urbanization in the context of global land use change, the urban heat island, urban biogeochemistry, as well as climate change and impacts on urban areas. This course will also include a guided tour of the buildings presented at the International Buildings Exhibition in Hamburg (2006-2013), which shows existing solutions to mitigate urban impact on the environment