ENV 973 (Tentative) () (Tentative) / 2024-2025

Capstone on Waste in the Urban Environment: Technology, Policy, and Management

Note: this course information is for the 2024-2025 academic year, not the current academic year (2023-2024).
Credits: 3


Cities house 50% of world population. Often envisioned as living entities, cities are in constant evolution and, throughout this process, they generate waste—particularly municipal solid waste and construction and demolition waste. Most of this waste ends up in landfills, incineration facilities, or is downcycled for lower-grade applications. This capstone course provides the opportunity to reflect on problems related to the generation and disposition of waste in the urban environment and to exercise critical thinking to indicate potential pathways to address these problems.
This capstone course invites the students—either singularly or in teams of two—to conduct independent research on the fate of end-of-life material resources, with a particular focus on the waste produced in the built environment (construction and demolition and municipal waste). The choice of specific research topics is either originated by students or suggested from a list provided by the instructor. The course contains a mix of content-based sessions (e.g., waste generation, circularity, recycling) and practical sessions (e.g., critical reading, data visualization, scenario analysis) aimed at enhancing the skills necessary to produce rigorous reports. By the end of the semester, students will have compiled what they learned into an oral presentation and written final report sharing findings and recommendations. In addition, presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and feedback from the instructor and fellow students.