Class Snapshot: ‘Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions’

Holly Welles ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

This spring, 12 Princeton undergraduates are joining forces in the interdisciplinary course “Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions” to confront urbanization and environmental problems and to rethink traditional theories about nature and city dynamics. 

The instructors: The class is co-taught by Mario Gandelsonas, the Class of 1913 Lecturer in Architecture, and Bruno Carvalho, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures.

Gandelsonas specializes in urbanism and semiotics and is developing a research project on 21st-century urban infrastructure. He is directing the program Fluvial Metropolis for the University São Paulo-Princeton Strategic Partnership focused on improving urban and suburban water infrastructure in New York City and São Paulo. 

Carvalho’s research and teaching interests range from the early modern period to the present, and include literature, culture and the built environment in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil. He has written on topics related to literature, film, architecture, cartography and city planning. He is co-director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities — a program to stimulate interdisciplinary teaching and research on the built environment in North America and South America.  

The course: Taught for the first time this term, the class addresses intersections between climate, water, energy and urban environments from a perspective informed by the humanities and architecture. It is funded by the Grand Challenges Program and has broad sponsorship including the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Architecture, and the programs in Latin American studies and urban studies.