Sustainable Environmental Systems

Pratt’s graduate degree in sustainability, Sustainable Environmental Systems, provides an excellent practice-based education for professionals. Our curriculum, which is focused on the integration of environmental science, policy, and design covers:

  • Integrated urban systems designs for water, energy, and solid waste
  • Sustainable community development
  • Environmental and social justice
  • Inter- and trans-disciplinary study

In our climate challenged future, urban systems require an integrative approach that balances environmental, economic and social impacts. At Pratt, our approach to sustainability is trans-disciplinary. Our faculty and students represent a wealth of disciplines and they truly believe that solutions to complex urban issues can only be developed through many points of view. As part of the graduate School of Architecture, we are immersed in one of the nation’s top art and design schools. At Pratt you will study environmental sustainability with artists, designers, architects, planners, preservationists, and managers. We place particular importance on the development of critical analysis, systems thinking, oral presentation, and writing skills.

Current Projects

L.E.A.P.- Leaders in Environmental Advocacy at Pratt

 Green Infrastructure Grant at Pratt Institute

Open Houses

PSPD's Brooklyn-based programs (City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Environmental Systems, and Historic Preservation) have an open house on the second Tuesday of every month. Arrive at Higgins Hall suite 206 north at 6 PM for an overview of the PSPD and meetings with the coordinators of each program based on your interest(s). Light refreshments with current students will be provided. You can also sit in on a class at 8 PM, or arrange to do so on another day. Higgins Hall is located at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and St. James Place in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, one block from the Clinton / Washington stop on the G subway line. Please RSVP to Adia Ware at and indicate your program(s) of interest.

These programs also have two Saturday Information Sessions per semester. Please visit this site for more information. For information about the Sustainable Environmental Systems program contact Program Coordinator Jamie Stein at or at 718.399.4328.

Spring 2015 Highlighted Courses

Special Topics: Productive & Performative Landscape
Faculty: David Seiter

Through a patchwork of productive and performative landscape typologies—such as the ecological green roof, the phytoremediation field, the street tree orchard, and the urban micro farm—new paradigms are being created for urban public space that are not limited to the prototypical landscapes of the park or garden. This course will explore these emergent trends in landscape design as essential components of a developing urban green infrastructure. The landscape typologies will be introduced through a series of case studies with projects ranging from Seville, Spain to Ridgewood, Queens. Each class is organized around a “performative” or “productive” concept and is articulated through substantive readings, interactive lectures, and engaging guest speakers. In addition to highlighting innovatively practical solutions to typical infrastructural problems, the projects we will examine reflect the poetic possibility of urban landscapes to emerge as both ecologically functional spaces and cultural experiences.

Special Topics: Managing Coastal Resources in an Uncertain Future
Faculty: Mike Marella

Taught by the Department of City Planning's Director of Waterfront and Open Space Planning, this 10 week course is organized around two major themes that will significantly alter the shorelines of our city and the way we think about them: climate change and globalization. Those two forces will influence nearly every decision that gets made on the waterfront and have the potential to be major impetuses/catalysts for change. These two forces can be the lens by which we examine everything from wetlands protection to industrial development to open space.

Environmental Assessment: Sustainability Indicators
Faculty: Ira Stern
Sustainability indicators measure progress toward a sustainable economy, society, and environment. The Ecological Footprint Analysis is a type of sustainability indicator that measures how much biologically productive land and water area an individual, a city, a country, or a region requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates. This course introduces the principles underlying sustainability indicators, including Ecological Footprint Analysis, and will offer students hands-on experience with these tools.

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