Master of Science in Architecture, Specialization in Sustainable New Cities
Jump to educational program
Cities are the single most critical issue of global sustainability because while they cover only 2% of the earth’s surface, they consume 70% of the world’s resources. Moreover, in virtually all of the developing countries and most significantly in the more advancing economies of China and India there is also a vast rural to urban migration taking place. The lure of jobs and an opportunity for a higher standard of living are generating population shifts of as many as 1.2 million per week.
These pressures of urban growth have only expanded already overextended inefficient existing infrastructures and have become an overload of congestion, pollution, depletion of natural resources and an insatiable demand for energy. In China alone there is projected to be over a 300 million increase in their urban population within the next 20 years.
The energy shock is that this urban growth is a multiple of individuals who have consumed almost no per capita energy in their rural setting being transformed into the urban lifestyle of air conditioning, appliances and transportation. When this reality is expanded on a broader global basis, there is simply not enough fossil fuel on the planet to sustain this exponentially increasing urban energy consumption.
To really make a difference in resolving this urban challenge of accelerating global demand for energy, architecture must expand its professional role to the design and construction of completely new sustainable cities. This initiative must be driven by a core principle that establishes the architectural planning of the entire horizontal infrastructure as the major and most decisive premise for achieving minimal urban energy consumption. For this there is no precedent because historical urban patterns have no relevance and even conventional urban planning models have already proved to be unsustainable.
Within any new urban context there must be an ecological regional plan, a summary of essential public policy, a demographic profile of residents to support a leading edge city defined by its own economic base, and a master plan for a compact live-and-work city that has a pedestrian-based mix of multi-family housing and urban functions integrated by an advanced technology light-rail transportation system.
These new priorities can also generate new concepts for both the international and domestic retrofitting of existing cities. Obsolete portions of unplanned energy consuming sprawl or areas of vacated industries can be transformed into internal “compact city” satellites to serve advanced areas of clustered research or new leading edge areas of commerce.
Because the city must have an optimum energy efficiency to minimize consumption, generate its own energy for these requirements from alternative energy sources and also produce an unsurpassed quality of life for its residents, the resulting architecture can only be achieved by Design as Research. While the origins are based on existing social and technology resources, the search is to define a new culture for our time that reflects the current forces of both social and economic change.
The College of Architecture is uniquely positioned to provide the resources required by this advanced level of graduate study. To focus the research agenda and the rationale for developing entirely new sustainable cities and to make them more economically feasible than any other alternatives, the College has established the International Center for Sustainable New Cities. IIT is also home to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the world’s leading group of affiliated professionals dealing with tall buildings and sustainable environments. In addition, students have access to courses on Urban Studies at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy.
Our university's commitment to an academic concentration on sustainability is shown through the interdepartmental course offerings of energy systems and urban infrastructure from engineering; environmental management and public administration from business; and long-term environmental issues from law.
For application and admission information, please contact:
Director for Graduate Academic Affairs
For additional details or more specific curricula for this two-semester, 32-credit-hour program, please contact:
George Schipporeit, Associate Professor
Director, Sustainable New Cities Specialization