Sustainable Cities Doctoral Initiative




The Center for Sustainable Development, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the School of Architecture, in partnership with faculty in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Cockrell School of Engineering, have recently launched a new initiative aimed at providing doctoral training and research in sustainable metropolitan development and building design and technology.

The Sustainable Cities Doctoral Initiative focuses on the integration of cutting-edge research and practice in the fields of urban planning, architecture, environmental and architectural engineering, landscape architecture, urban design, community engagement and public policy. Current thinking in these fields emphasizes the need for a holistic understanding of the complex relationships between the form, functionality and governance of human settlements in this period of global change and environmental challenge. Across these fields, scholars are rethinking current practice and working across disciplinary lines to forge new approaches to research, policy and practice.

A grant from the UT System currently supports ten doctoral students working in three interdisciplinary teams, each tackling sustainability at a different scale. The grant also provides these teams with seed funding for the development of interdisciplinary research proposals to be submitted to federal funders such as the National Science Foundation.

Graduates of the proposed program will be prepared to teach and conduct research on a set of seminal questions of considerable importance to society:

  • What are the fundamental changes that need to be made in how we build, plan, and govern urban regions in order to sustain environmental systems, maintain local economies, preserve local cultural practices and improve social equity?
  • What changes do we need to make in how we conceptualize and organize research on urban problems and formulate solutions?
  • How can the various disciplines and professions involved in shaping the built environment work together in new ways to stimulate these changes?

In addition, funds were committed from the Snell Endowment to match the Sustainable Cities Initiative grant to bring in excellent students. Doctoral fellowships will be offered to one student per year for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years. Each fellowship will provide the fellow with a half time graduate research assistantship and a tuition scholarship for one year (possibly two). To be eligible for this funding, students must apply to an existing doctoral program in either community and regional planning or transportation engineering and indicate their interest in this scholarship.

To learn more about the students who are currently involved in the Sustainable Cities Doctoral Initiative, please click here.

Several research projects and graduate-level courses have also come out of the SCDI.  To learn more about these, please click here.