This course aimed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on the different elements that contribute to the development of sustainable cities to government officials and members of civil society involved in planning processes and urban development. This activity specifically focused on: providing state of the art knowledge on the set of systems involved in the urban setting combining social and physical science approaches; case studies analysis for best practices identification; and sharing firsthand experience regarding the benefits of green infrastructure, energy efficiency demonstration projects and sustainable transport systems through field visits.
The course methodology included theoretical presentations that combined the professor’s input with student participation. Case studies were presented and discussed in order to develop practical skills regarding the issues discussed. The course also combined theory with practical exercises in which the students could experience the content of each module applied to real life situations through lectures, readings, group exercises and discussions. The course finalized with a set of field trips in which students were able to come in contact with the operations and functioning of green infrastructure, energy efficiency projects and sustainable transport examples in Port of Spain.
The imperative of building sustainable cities and communities in the hemisphere was first acknowledged during the First Summit on Sustainable Development in the Americas held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in December 1996. In this context, a Plan of Action was released as one of the main outputs of this Summit. Since then, the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-DSD) has been working with Member states in four areas under the sustainable cities theme: economic development, housing, pollution prevention and environmental protection, and sustainable transport.
The objective of the Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean initiative is to strengthen the capacity of NGOs and community associations in Central America and the Caribbean to build sustainable communities in the context of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).