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Sustainable Cities and Communities

About the Goal

sustainable cities

The United Nations aims to create inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements by 2030. 

Northwestern is engaged in a broad range of research projects and other initiatives aimed at realizing this goal, including work to cultivate an ecologically sound, socially just and economically sustainable culture at Northwestern that widely integrates sustainability into all university research and endeavors. Northwestern is also facilitating transnational research and programming focused on the development of sustainable cities and infrastructure, natural resource management, and the preservation of the world’s cultural, linguistic and natural heritage.


Northwestern Experts and Initiatives

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group aims to help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, while recognizing the disproportionate effects that environmental challenges and their solutions have on marginalized communities.  The group is working closely with its partners—which include Indigenous youth, community elders and knowledge keepers, as well as practitioners, scientists and engineers—to develop an understanding of traditional ecological knowledge and climate change experiences and solutions through interviews, story-telling, and other participatory techniques. Their findings will be used to co-create a knowledge sharing platform to facilitate co-designed solutions that mitigate—and possibly prevent—the disproportionate impacts of environmental change their communities face.

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group
Patty Loew

Patty Loew

Patty Loew is a professor at Medill and director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern.  Loew is also a documentary producer and former broadcast journalist in public and commercial television. A citizen of Mashkiiziibii (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), she is the author of four books:  Native People of Wisconsin, which is used by 20,000 Wisconsin school children as a social studies textbook; Teachers Guide to Native People of WisconsinIndian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal; and Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, a collection of biographies of Native American environmental leaders. Loew has produced many documentaries for public and commercial television, including Way of the Warrior, which aired nationally on PBS in 2007 and 2011. Her outreach work focuses on Native American youth and digital storytelling.

Featured Course

African Cities, Studies in African Literature (369-0-20)

Africa is usually seen in terms of rural settlements as depicted in such canonical works as Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Okot p'Bitek's Song Lawino, and Ngugi's The River Between. Reading the work of such writers as Marjorie O. Macgoye, Buchi Emecheta, Meja Mwangi, Phaswane Mpe, Ayi Kwei Armah, and Teju Cole, the course will discuss urban settlements and planning in Africa.

Explore the course