Located deep in the heart of Texas, Austin has a long history of extreme weather. Yet, in the last decade alone, local residents have experienced more frequent and intense events. These events are not felt equally across the city but are more devastating for communities with the least amount of resources and live in hazard-prone ecosystems. Whether it’s a major heatwave, flood, or grass fire, low-income communities in East Austin are most at risk. This course will focus on how the City of Austin (both municipal and community) is impacted by climate change and will review methods to bounce back stronger from shocks and stressors.

Pulling from staff and community experience as well as quantifiable data, this class will review the growing pains of a city struggling to adapt to a changing climate. The issues covered in this class are issues most cities, throughout the world, are grappling with now. The concepts and methods reviewed in this course are transferable to other cities and professions. 

Catalog Description
Although extreme weather has always impacted cities, all interconnected infrastructure (roads, buildings, utilities, airports, neighborhoods, etc.) are designed with the expectation that the climate is constant. The class will take an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities for municipalities and communities to adapt to the new realities of climate change. This class is taught by a City of Austin employee whose job it is to work with city departments and community members to embed climate adaptation strategies into community design, city operations, and asset management planning. With a combination of presentations, guest lectures, and field trips, the students will learn first-hand how cities like Austin frame, collaborate, and struggle to prepare for an uncertain future.


Community and Regional Planning


Fall 2023