Sustainable Cities and Interdisciplinary International Education

Sustainable Cities and Interdisciplinary International Education: A Workshop on Core Knowledge and Skills

Workshop Details
U.S. Project Partners

Anu Ramaswami – University of Minnesota

Marian Chertow – Yale

Ted Russell – Georgia-Tech

Paty-Romero Lankao – National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Chris Weible – University of Colorado Denver

Rachelle Hollander – The National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

International Project Partners

Tongji University

Tsinghua University

Chinese Academy of Sciences – Institute for the Urban Environment (CAS-IUE)

The Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur)

TERI University

Three NGOs: ICLEI-South Asia, the Resource Optimization Initiative (Bangalore), and The Urban Health Research Center (UHRC)

National Academies Keck Building
Washington D.C.
Frazier Benya
Contact Frazier Benya


This workshop is part of an NSF Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant that focuses on “Developing Low-Carbon Cities in the USA, China & India through Inter-Disciplinary Integration Across Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences & Public Health.” Led by Anu Ramaswami (University of Minnesota), this PIRE project will develop a transformative international research, education and outreach program to assist in the development of low-carbon, resource-efficient and healthy cities in the US, China and India. The collaboration includes six U.S. partners and partners in India and China. 

Workshop Objectives 

This workshop has three main objectives:

  • Gain consensus on the core knowledge and skills (core competencies) that are important in developing an international, interdisciplinary graduate learning experience on Sustainable Cities.

-Explore key competencies relating to five main learning areas and their inter-connections: a) Sustainability systems concepts; b) Inter-disciplinary learning; c) Inter-cultural learning; d) Ethics; e) Community-based field research.

-Learn about existing programs and experiences among all partners and workshop attendees

  • Design the curriculum for the a six-week Summer School to addresses all five competencies
  • Streamline assessment tools to assess learning in all five competencies

To reach these objectives, workshop sessions are organized in several different ways. Most begin with a subject area overview, followed by a panel of presentations from team members about their experiences with the subject. Group discussion should focus on the implications of the talks and experiences for enhancing systems thinking in the curricula and for assessing learning.

The NAE will do video interviews with some workshop participants during breaks, asking for their reflections on the role of partnerships in fostering international interdisciplinary research and education, with attention to issues of ethics and society.