2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) 
    Jun 22, 2018  
2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sustainable Urban Environments

Program Director: Richard Wener
Program Adviser:
Christopher Leslie

General Information

Sustainable Urban Environments is an interdisciplinary program based in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society and supported by the Civil and Urban Engineering Department. Students receive a liberal arts education focused on the social and technical issues involved in creating healthy and satisfying environments for the swelling populations of the world’s cities. Billions of urban dwellers around the world need clean water and air, housing, healthy secure living conditions, and adequate transportation and education. The best city planners and managers assess technical challenges in their historical and social context. This program unites technology, planning, economics, psychology, ecology and history to address the political and social challenges of applying urban technology. In addition to General Education courses, students take a set of Urban Core courses to provide breadth in understanding of urban issues.

In courses, projects, field trips and internships this program capitalizes on its location in the heart of New York City, for decades one of the largest and most innovative urban laboratories in the world and the prototypical 21st-century globalizing city. Sustainable development and management is a necessity, not a luxury. Students in this program will be qualified to work for public and private agencies that will be in the center of this effort.

Among the topics addressed in SUE at NYU-Poly are:

  • Urban infrastructure: What it is, how it works and history and political systems in development with emphasis on New York City.
  • Urban sustainability.
  • The design and planning of cities to promote health and well-being.
  • The city as a social and technical system, including the psychology of sustainable design.
  • Human and natural ecology in the city: How people, animals and plants survive and interact in the urban environment to make the city survivable, healthy and pleasant.

Program Highlights

NYU-Poly offers a unique combination of New York City’s resources and the city’s preeminent technological institution.

New York City is a cultural, social, technological and financial capital to America and the world. The city has committed itself to becoming “green” at a grand scale and rapid pace. The issues we study in SUE are played out in New York City, as are opportunities to learn, study and work in these processes. The SUE program is a rare combination of liberal arts (such as urban history and environmental psychology) and technology (civil and transportation engineering), combining offerings to produce students who are conversant with both the technical and social aspects of sustainability issues facing our cities.

Project-Oriented Education and Research

A project-oriented semester—studying abroad or engaging in an internship— bridges the gap between academics and the outside world.  Capstone Projects provide students with essential experience in solving these complex, real world urban problems.


Students with the BS Degree in SUE might pursue further study and careers in fields such as:

  • Urban planning
  • Historical preservation
  • Architecture or Landscape architecture
  • Urban management
  • Law
  • Social work
  • Education
  • Museum curator
  • Journalism


    Non-DegreeBachelor of Science