2018 Smart & Sustainable Megaregion

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
Instructor(s)
Brian Woodall  Wendy Newstetter  Adjo A.Amekudzi-Kennedy  Abe Naoya 
Class Format
Lecture     
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Intensive 1-2()  
Group
-
Course number
TSE.C311
Credits
2
Academic year
2018
Offered quarter
2Q
Syllabus updated
2018/9/17
Lecture notes updated
-
Language used
English
Access Index

Course description and aims

COURSE OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION

Megaregions –integrated networks of cities and their surrounding suburbs across which labor, capital, and ideas swiftly and at very low cost (Florida et al 2008) – play a pivotal role in a globalized world. Today’s forty largest megaregions generate two-thirds of world economic output and account for 85 percent of global innovation. They nurture technological and scientific innovation, serve as magnets for skilled labor, and host multinational corporations and high-quality educational institutions. Because they are the engines of global economic growth, technological change, and sociocultural transformation, it is appropriate to perceive of them as global megaregions. These megaregions – which dot the landscapes of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia – face a variety of common challenges concerning urban planning, infrastructure, socio-economic inequities, environmental degradation, energy resources, food security, and waste management. Yet it may be possible that many of these problems can be mitigated through the adoption of “smart” information and communication technologies that encourage sustainable development, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and enhance the creation of regional wealth. In light of the growing importance of megaregions and the inexorable expansion of their number, especially in the Global South, it is important to identify best practices to ensure that they will be able to develop sustainability.

In this particular course – which is taught as part of the Japan Summer Program in Sustainable Development – we will assess the sustainability of Greater Tokyo, the world’s largest megaregion with 55 million residents and a total gross domestic product of approximately $2.5 trillion. To do so, we will employ a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes tools from social and cognitive science, sustainable engineering, and computer science. Through systematic comparisons with other megaregions, we will seek to identify Greater Tokyo’s sustainability challenges and possible solutions, including those that may be afforded by the adoption of “smart” technologies. Thematic issues to be investigated include infrastructure, urban planning, equity concerns, and energy, environmental, and food security. Taking advantage of our home base at Tokyo Tech, we will utilize fieldtrips and site visits to obtain on-the-ground insights into particular sustainability challenges of Greater Tokyo. In the final sessions of the course, we will employ a problem-based learning exercise that employs data, information, and comparative case studies to evaluate Greater Tokyo’s sustainable development performance.

Student learning outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes:

• Students will describe the diversity of cultural and ethical systems in the world, particularly as applied to sustainability.

• Students will compare and contrast a particular megaregion’s performance in important areas of sustainable development (e.g., public transportation, urban planning, energy policy, etc.) with that of other megaregions.

• Students will identify how the social, political, and economic forces – including technological and environmental factors – that influence megaregion sustainability develop, persist, and change.

• Students will analyze the social, political, and economic forces that interact with scientific and technological factors to shape sustainable development-related policymaking at the national, regional, and supranational levels.

• Students will be able to express their arguments clearly and effectively both in written reports and class discussions.

Keywords

Urbanization, Megacities, sustainable development

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The success of this course depends upon active, informed student participation. In addition, course grading will be determined by student performance on two examinations and three group projects. With regard to the group projects, you are required to participate in the preparation and oral delivery of a research design exercise, PowerPoint presentation (15 minutes in duration, followed by Q&A) and in the writing of a technical report (approximately 15 pages in length). These will be used to evaluate the progress you are making in the areas of expression, organization and clarity in oral and written communication. The PowerPoint presentation will be delivered at a forum to be held during the final classroom session of the course. All members of the group are required to participate in the oral presentation.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 [Week 1] #1: Smart and Sustainable Megaregion – A Multidisciplinary Evaluative Framework Dates: TBD Common readings: Richard Florida, Tim Gulden, and Charlotta Mellander, “The Rise of the Megaregion,” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Vol. 1 (2008), pp. 459–476; additional readings TBA. #2: Institutional and Socio-economic Factors Dates: TBD Common readings: Stephen Wheeler, “Regions, Megaregions, and Sustainability,” Regional Studies, Vol. 43 (2009, No. 6), pp. 863-876; and Parag Khanna, “A New Map for America,” New York Times, April 15, 2016 (uploaded to Canvas); Chie Nakane, Japanese Society (London, UK: Orion, 2016), pp. 1-86 (uploaded to Canvas); “The Comparative Method” (uploaded to Canvas) Research Design Project – PBL Group Project (10 percent of final grade) #3: The Promise of “Smart” Technologies Dates: TBD Common readings: Yunchuan Sun, Houbing Song, Antonio J. Mara, and Rongfang Bie, “Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics for Smart and Connected Communities,” IEEE Access, Vol. 4, pp. 766-773; additional readings TBA. #4: Urban Planning, Land, and Resource Issues Dates: TBD Common readings: Stephen Wheeler, “Regions, Megaregions, and Sustainability,” Regional Studies, Vol. 43 (No. 6), pp. 863-876; additional readings TBA. [Week 2] A week-long field-trip in Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nagoya [Week 3] #5: Transportation Infrastructure and Equity Issues Dates: TBD Common readings: TRB Critical Issues from 2009 and 2013 (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/general/criticalissues09.pdf) and 2013 (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/general/criticalissues13.pdf); and Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy, Brian Woodall, and Alex Karner with Alexandra Akosa, Haley Franklin, Jose Luiz Simao, Henrik Gudmundsson, and Janille Smith-Colin, “Institutional Arrangements, Transportation System Investments and Socio-Economic Outcomes: Affecting the Development of Shared Regional Prosperity” (uploaded to Canvas) #6 Examination review Examination #1: TBD (15 percent of final grade) #7: Energy and Environmental Security Dates: TBD Common readings: Green Growth: From Religion to Reality (Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, 2011) (uploaded to Canvas) #8: Waste Management Dates: TBD Common readings: “Waste Management,” United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (download report at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&nr=6&type=504&menu=139_); additional readings TBA. [Week 4] #9: Food Security Dates: TBD Common readings: Kevin Morgan, “Nourishing the city: The rise of the urban food question in the Global North,” Urban Studies, Vol. 52 (No. 8, 2015), 1379-1394; additional readings TBA. #10: Examination review Examination #2: TBD (15 percent of final grade) #11: Group Meetings Dates: TBD Readings: to be determined by group #12: Group Meetings Dates: TBD Readings: to be determined by group [Week 5] #13: Group Meetings Dates: TBD Readings: to be determined by group #14: Group Meetings Dates: TBD Readings: to be determined by group #15: Group Presentations Dates: TBD PowerPoint presentation due Written report due Final written self/peer evaluation due Please see the relevant information in the course schedule.

Textbook(s)

Common readings – i.e., required readings for the entire class – are available either through the Georgia Tech Library’s e-journals portal or will be uploaded to Canvas or a shared folder on GoogleDrive. However, be aware that some of the reading you do for this course will be determined in discussions within your PBL group. If you have questions or wish to pursue a particular topic in more depth, you are encouraged to consult with one of the course facilitators.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Common readings – i.e., required readings for the entire class – are available either through the Georgia Tech Library’s e-journals portal or will be uploaded to Canvas or a shared folder on GoogleDrive. However, be aware that some of the reading you do for this course will be determined in discussions within your PBL group. If you have questions or wish to pursue a particular topic in more depth, you are encouraged to consult with one of the course facilitators.

Assessment criteria and methods

Course grades will be weighted as follows:

• examination #1: 15 percent
• research design project (group project): 10 percent
• examination #2: 15 percent
• oral presentation (group project): 30 percent
• written report (group project): 30 percent

Related courses

  • TSE.C205 : Introduction to Global Development
  • TSE.C316 : Global Development Capstone
  • TSE.C315 : Energy, Environment, and Policy
  • TSE.C301 : Introduction to International Development

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

The success of this course depends upon active, informed student participation. In addition, course grading will be determined by student performance on two examinations and three group projects. With regard to the group projects, you are required to participate in the preparation and oral delivery of a research design exercise, PowerPoint presentation (15 minutes in duration, followed by Q&A) and in the writing of a technical report (approximately 15 pages in length). These will be used to evaluate the progress you are making in the areas of expression, organization and clarity in oral and written communication. The PowerPoint presentation will be delivered at a forum to be held during the final classroom session of the course. All members of the group are required to participate in the oral presentation.

Other

The following webpages are available for this course.

http://japanprogram.gatech.edu/

http://www.tse.ens.titech.ac.jp/~jspsd/

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