The Process of Environmental Planning
Landscape Architecture C237/ City and Regional Planning C257

Overview: This course posits environmental planning at the confluence of economic and social changes and challenges in the contemporary urban landscape. This course draws from geographic theory, history, law, policy, and ecological processes to construct a critical analysis of the role of environmental planning, its influences and potential impacts. The course also emphasizes the process of environmental planning as it relates to human land uses, where planning ideals and competing social ideologies are often highly contested. This course has an urban-environmental focus and will deploy aspects of critical geographic theory to examine issues of contemporary topics facing the condition of our environment. The course also serves as an introduction to the environmental planning curriculum at UC Berkeley and the profession beyond. Thus we will explore the role of the environmental planner in the professional and academic realms and have visiting discussants from key faculty members as well as from working professionals from the Bay Area.


Purpose: The course will engage environmental planning students with the basic concepts of social and economic processes that have shaped our environment to present date. It challenges students to re-conceptualize the term: “environment.” The term “environment” is often used generally in association with the Earth’s pristine or “natural” condition. But our “natural” environment and our built environment have been significantly augmented. How can the term “environment” then be used as a concept to envision all aspects of the human use of the Earth as interconnected and inseparable? Through this conceptual framework students will deconstruct and critique current planning initiatives and their role as professional environmental planners.


Course Structure: This course will be conducted as seminar with open discussion of the assigned readings and other course materials. I expect that students will come to class well prepared to present and respond to discussion questions and ideas about the readings.


Area Focus: This course examines the United States’ urban social-economic processes and how they affect environmental systems and has, for the most part, a regional focus on California’s landscape morphology.

© Robert Lemon /

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