Teaching urban sustainability: A study abroad perspective

Harriet Cornell, Geoffrey Buckley, Hamish Kallin, Tawny Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2011 more than 100 students from Ohio University have travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to study history, urban planning, and sustainability. In this paper we recount the genesis of this highly successful program, situate it in the broader literature on urban sustainability and study abroad, and then unpack its contents. We then consider how the adoption of green living practices combined with hands-on and experiential learning activities developed specifically for this program—including sustainability diaries, green spaces surveys, group research projects, and walking tours—complement content that is delivered in the classroom, and furthermore, how an emphasis on planning history and social equity contributes to student understanding of the forces that shape urban landscapes over time. In the end, we conclude that an urban sustainability theme conjoined with a location abroad presents educators with an opportunity to communicate critical sustainability principles that would be difficult to replicate if students did not leave their home university.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-270
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2019


  • sustainability
  • urban history
  • education
  • study abroad
  • environment


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