Certificate in Ecological Planning


Interest in Ecological Planning has been increasing in recent years along with the growing awareness of the impacts of climate change on the world’s ecosystems, wildlife, and human settlements. The availability of water and managing stormwater and wastewater have become critical issues in planning for the future of human settlements. Of paramount importance is for students to understand the role of natural cycles (hydrologic, carbon, nitrogen, etc.) and the varying carrying capacity of different landscapes to support human settlements. Jobs in sustainability are becoming popular both in the public sector (e.g. Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability) and in the private sector (e.g. environmental compliance officers and consulting firms). The Certificate in Ecological Planning draws on courses within the School of Design, the Environmental Studies Program, and other schools to offer students an interdisciplinary approach to Ecological Planning.

School of Design students may complete this certificate within the time span of their chosen degrees in the same manner as other school-wide certificates. Students apply to the program through the School of Design Office of Admissions.

Program governance and leadership

Professor Tom Daniels of the Department of City and Regional Planning is the Director of the Certificate in Ecological Planning. (thomasld@design.upenn.edu)

Program Structure and Curriculum and Course requirements

Completion of five course units as follows:

* For students in the MCP program with a Land Use and Environmental Planning concentration, in addition to the four courses taken to meet the LUEP Concentration requirements, they must take a Science Elective Course and two additional courses from the Other Elective Courses list. The Science Course and Other Elective Courses may not double-count for the LUEP concentration and Ecological Planning Certificate.
**For all students, all substitutions to required courses must be approved in writing by the director of the certificate program and submitted to the Weitzman School Office of Records and Registration (110 Meyerson Hall).

1. Foundation courses – 3 course units

CPLN 5310 – Environmental Planning – 1 course unit (fall semester, 1st year)

CPLN 70x0 – Studio in Ecological Systems* – 2 course units (fall semester, 2nd year) A studio that examines complex environmental problems that engage regional ecology, environmental policy, the built environment, and local communities. Students draw from data on landscape and hydrological processes to inform design and policy interventions. Students work across multiple scales, linking site design to regional ecological performance, to state and federal regulations.

* MLA students could take the CPLN 70x0 Ecological Systems studio or propose to have one of the available LARP 7000-level studios substitute for the CPLN studio – to be approved by Catherine Seavitt and Tom Daniels.

2. Science course elective – 1 course unit, choice of:

ENVS 5404 Wetlands (fall)

GEOL 5450 Earth Surface Processes

3. Other elective course – one course unit, choice of:

ARCH 7340 Ecological Architecture (usually spring)

ARCH 7510 Ecology, Technology, and Design (usually fall)

BEPP 7610 Risk Analysis and Environmental Management

CPLN 6310 Land Preservation (usually spring)

CPLN 6350 Water Policy (usually spring)

CPLN 6750 Land Use and Environmental Modeling (usually spring)

CPLN 7300 Sustainable Cities (usually spring)

Any ENVS class as approved by the Certificate Director

LARP 7600 Topics in Ecological Design (may be offered either semester)

LARP 7610 Urban Ecology (fall, w/ permission of instructors)

LAW 6340 Environmental Law (usually spring)