University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

Sustainable Planning 

Sustainable planning is an essential component in maintaining the health and prosperity of metropolitan areas. As the world's population continues to urbanize, balancing the increasing growth in demand for energy, natural resources, and living space becomes a challenge as they impact the vitality of the economy, environment, and policy. By planning sustainable cities, these impacts can be controlled and reduced which can help relieve many of the world's environmental protection, social justice, energy conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction policy issues.

The USCEI Sustainable Planning initiative works with the Center for Sustainable Cities (CSC), an Organized Research Unit (ORU) housed in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development (SPPD), to develop viable solutions, through multi-disciplinary research, for the sustainability challenges of metropolitan areas.

Currently, CSC researchers are focusing on three major areas that affect sustainable planning: cities and climate change, industrial ecology and business sustainability, and sustainability policies and governance.

Cities and Climate Change

This project focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation in metropolitan areas. The CSC supports the Urban Climate Change Research Network which analyzes different methodologies of building GHG inventories at urban scale and analyzing the macroeconomic impact of integrated climate action plans. Researchers are working on strategies for successfully implementing alternative energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions to improve the prosperity of metropolitan areas. Researchers are also looking to find ways to improve the socioeconomic health and resilience of metropolitan areas by developing plans for vulnerable communities and infrastructures to adapt to climate change issues.

Industrial Ecology and Business Sustainability

This project focuses on improving the sustainability of resources intensive industrial activities in metropolitan areas. Researchers are studying strategies to reduce carbon emissions associated with goods movement, assessing the carbon footprint of consumer products and food's supply chain, developing guidelines for sustainable buildings that integrate energy efficiency, safety and comfort. By finding and analyzing the relationships between regional industrial patterns of energy use and pollution, researchers are able to evaluate improved methods for estimating the carbon intensity of industrial production systems and develop collaborative learning models for business systems.

Sustainability Policies and Governance

This project focuses on bridging the gap between sustainable planning practices and the implementation of these policies. In order to solve sustainable policy issues, researchers are working on developing plans to increase public action through collaborations with private and non-profit organizations which will stimulate investments in new technology development. Researchers also seek to develop effective policy designs, evaluations of policy outcomes, and collaborative decision-making.

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Project Team