Cities, Sustainability and Foreign Policy


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

urban planning
international politics, political science, Middle East studies

Does the way we live—in suburbs, malls and automobiles—shape the foreign policy conducted in our name? Can we change our foreign policy by living differently?

Our program will explore these questions through the prism of American foreign policy in the Middle East. The program will examine how the suburbanized and automobile dependent culture of the United States after World War II was made possible by American involvement in the Middle East to secure access to cheap and plentiful oil, particularly through our close alliances with oil-rich regimes. This ongoing involvement has been central to the rise of anti-American sentiment and the resultant wars in the Middle East during the past decade. While some have called for a new foreign policy which supports democracy, this program will also explore the question of whether a new domestic policy—one focused on shifting our way of living from suburbia to more walkable, dense and sustainable ways of urban living--may also be a necessary element of a new foreign policy. How do we create ways to live that reduce our dependency on access to non-renewable resources and support for repressive regional governments? What do sustainable and walkable cities look like? Should urban planning be a key element of foreign policy? Where do these decisions get made, and how can residents help shape their communities?

Students will be introduced to the history and practice of U.S. foreign in the Middle East as well as central issues in the history and theory of U.S. urban planning and development. We will read texts, watch films and hear guest speakers who will address these issues, as well as write papers and engage in discussion and debates.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

urban planning, sustainability, city and local government, international politics, Middle East studies, and public policy.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.


Date Revision
March 18th, 2014 This program now accepts Sophomores.
November 18th, 2013 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Sophomore; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 36


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30335
So (16 credits): 30532

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