June 26, 2008

The New School Launches First Environmental Studies Program to Focus on New Frontier of Sustainable Design and Urban Ecosystems


Contact: Deborah Kirschner, +1-212-229-5667 ext 4310, [email protected], or Bridget Fisher, +1-212-229-5667 ext 3094, [email protected], both of the New School

NEW YORK, June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The New School has announced that it is launching a groundbreaking new undergraduate degree program in Environmental Studies* that is amongst the first to bring together urban ecosystems and sustainable design: two areas of study that together constitute a new frontier of environmental education.

Using New York City as its laboratory, students in this cutting- edge program will engage with the community to create solutions to todays critical environmental problems, particularly those found in urban ecosystems. This interdisciplinary program includes both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Both programs will enable students to take a variety of courses offered at The New School's acclaimed design school, Parsons The New School for Design, and liberal arts college, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

"The environment is not just about rainforests and the polar ice caps, but also the cities in which most of the world's population lives," said New School President Bob Kerrey. "This program is truly pioneering - no other university brings together the study of design and urban ecosystems in such a dynamic way. And where better than New York City to study this new frontier of environmental education."

A majority of the worlds population currently live, work, and play in large urban areas. It is estimated by the year 2025, almost 5 billion of approximately 8 billion people worldwide will live in metropolitan areas like New York City. The New School, which is located in New York, is focusing its program on hands-on engagement with the city's natural ecosystems, which include a large estuary, fisheries, wildlife, and wetlands, to see firsthand how human activity in an urban setting can impact the environment.

The ambitious program is administered by The New Schools Tishman Environment and Design Center, the hub for environmental studies at the university. The center will develop curricula and provide student and faculty support, including research funding, fieldwork opportunities, internships, and other services.

The urban ecosystem and sustainability may be the most important areas of environmental study in this century," said Joseph Westphal, university provost and director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center. "We need to prepare the next generation of leaders who will help shape a sustainable world for future generations. In keeping with The New Schools legacy, this program will foster students creativity in their efforts to find solutions to these issues.

In addition to its exploration of urban ecosystems, the New School's Environmental Studies program is distinct in that all students - whether enrolled in the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts - will participate in design studios in addition to science labs and seminar classes. New School faculty in the social sciences, urban policy and management, natural sciences, and ecology will work with Parsons design faculty to discover creative approaches to teaching and research," said Joel Towers, Associate Professor of Architecture at Parsons. "The fact that our students will be taking studio classes only broadens their perspective on how to solve the environmental problems plaguing cities worldwide.

Through the program, Bachelor of Arts students will be able to choose to concentrate in urban ecosystems or public policy. Bachelor of Science students will have the option of choosing a concentration either in sustainable design or urban ecosystem design. Both degree programs are cross disciplinary and include fieldwork, internships, and collaborative final projects. Through these activities, the program will prepare its graduates to enter a range of careers in the green business sector, the largest growth job market of the new millennium. These include but are not limited to government, environmental advocacy, energy conservation, green building, community organizing, neighborhood development, recycling, and education.

For further information about Environmental Studies at The New School, please visit http://www.newschool.edu/environmentalstudies.

* Pending approval of the New York State Department of Education

SOURCE New School for Social Research

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