Environmental Planning and Sustainability

Global environmental problems, like human-induced climate change, transcend national borders. Meanwhile, more than fifty percent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and consumes a majority of the planet’s natural resources. Environmental planners adopt solutions-oriented approaches to address environmental problems arising from, for example, climate change and globalization such as finding ways to support local food production, deploy clean sources of energy, conserve biodiversity and natural habitats, manage urban waste, and preserve freshwater resources.

Hawai‘i proves an ideal setting to tackle issues of environmental sustainability. Its archipelago is characterized by fragile ecosystems, a remote location, and limited space and natural resources. Hawai‘i has a rich history in land use management, rooted in both modern and historic cultural practice. Hawai‘i also serves as a bridge between East and West within the dynamic Asia-Pacific region – helping to build collaborative networks for innovative solutions to regional environmental challenges.

In an era where adaptive management demands flexible learning-oriented approaches, DURP faculty are engaged with complementary units across the campus, such as the Public Policy Center, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, Sea Grant College Program, and Water Resources Research Center to develop sound technical analyses and innovative participatory approaches to address local and global environmental challenges. Our faculty are committed to inter-disciplinary research, teaching and community engagement that will allow Hawai‘i, the U.S., and the Asia-Pacific region to address the opportunities presented by the responsibility to live sustainably.

Recent capstone topics

  • Water resources management in Hawai‘i: Restoring mauna to makai streamflow to ensure a sustainable future
  • Connecting the dots: Using planning to influence food access
  • Scaling up food recovery on Oahu
  • Planning for sea level rise: Improving coastal resilience by addressing wastewater management
  • The social acceptance of wind energy implementation in Hawai‘i
  • Beach nourishment as an erosion management strategy: A case study of Waikiki, Hawai‘i

Courses in this stream

Courses may be listed in more than one stream.

  • PLAN 605 Planning Models
  • PLAN 620 Environmental Policies and Programs
  • PLAN 626 Energy Planning
  • PLAN 625 Environmental Planning
  • PLAN 627 Negotiation and Mediation in Planning
  • PLAN 628 Urban Environmental Problems
  • PLAN 637 Environment and Development
  • PLAN 652 Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation
  • PLAN 654 Applied Geographic Information Systems
  • PLAN 670 Interdisciplinary Seminar in Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
  • PLAN 671 Disaster Management: Understanding the Nature of Hazards

View full course descriptions and class availability.