Unit 1. Module Introduction
Unit 1 introduces the Water Sustainability in Cities Module. The content establishes the foundation definitions of sustainability, sustainable development, and water sustainability in cities. Key sustainability concepts are introduced and examples provided for water in cities. Students are engaged in activities to help them explore the definitions of water sustainability in cities and apply systems thinking. The unit materials are designed with flexibility in mind such that instructors can adapt the module to their own courses and context. The unit may also be used on its own to provide an introductory water sustainability lesson without using other units in the module.
After completing Unit 1, students will be able to:
- Identify challenges and solutions to water sustainability in cities
- Define water sustainability in the context of cities
- Explain systems thinking, triple bottom line, Cradle to Cradle, and other sustainability concepts and describe their relationship to water
- Describe, using systems thinking terminology, the interconnections of a water system to infrastructure, governance, people, economy, and other systems in cities
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Watch Video 1: Water in Cities from UNESCO
(Video 1 provides a global overview of water in cities, focusing on the challenges faced by developed and developing nations. Students will gain an awareness of the global urban water challenges and ideas for general solutions.)Watch Video 2: Water Sensitive Urban Design from the Landscape Institute
(Video 2 builds on Video 1 by presenting a more detailed description of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), with details of elements of WSUD. With Video 2 students gain an awareness of design solutions, concepts, and terms that will be later addressed in the module.)
Watch Video 3: Mind Mapping from the Foundation for Educational Excellence Project:STAR
(Video 3 provides an introduction to making a mind map. It is brief yet sufficient to help guide students and show examples of what they will work on in Activity 4.)
Pre-Class Handout/Questionnaire (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Sep26 16). Students are given the class discussion questions and required to provide answers before entering class; instructor checks and assigns class participation grade at his or her discretion.
Question 1. What are the challenges to achieving water sustainability in cities? Follow-up: What challenges are faced by your local community?
Question 2. What are the solutions (i.e., Water Sensitive Urban Design)? Follow-up: What solutions have you seen on campus or in the community?
Question 3. Define the following terms (you may use additional resources: Internet, textbooks, etc.)
a. Triple Bottom Line
c. Systems Thinking
(As students walk in, if first class) Create tent cards with student names (need marker & thick paper to make tent cards)
(15 min) Activity 1. Module Overview and Discussion
Use the Unit 1 PowerPoint (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 3.1MB Jun24 16) as a guide
a. Present lesson learning goals
b. Discuss scope of water sustainability in cities for this module: water supply, stormwater, and wastewater
c. Discuss videos and pre-class questions:
i. Question 1. What are the challenges to achieving water sustainability in cities? Follow-up: What challenges are faced by your local community?
ii. Question 2. What are the solutions? Students write three answers and then respond; repeat if necessary. Map word cloud from responses using WordItOut or other online program. Follow-up: What solutions have you seen on campus or in the community?
iii. Question 3. Define the following terms (you may use additional resources: Internet, textbooks, etc.)
a. Triple Bottom Line
c. Systems Thinking
iv. Instructor may wish to ask students what sources of information they used to answer questions, and then ask to compile and share with class.
d. Module overview (optional at instructor discretion)
i. Review outline
ii. Module goals
iii. Online Course Learning Management System (class materials, handouts, etc.)
(20 min) Activity 2. Consensus Defining of "Water Sustainability in Cities"
a. Consensus activity: see the Activity 2 worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 252kB Jun24 16) for more details; begin with individual definitions being written, then students pair and select one definition to modify and to carry forward. Then join pairs (to form teams of four). Choose one definition and move forward. Continue until one definition is chosen by the entire class.
b. Review PowerPoint slides showing example definitions and compare/contrast to consensus definition
(10 min) Activity 3. Sustainability Concepts
a. Concepts: Triple Bottom Line, Cradle to Cradle, Systems Thinking
b. As needed, briefly review concepts in PowerPoint
c. Instructors may include other definitions at their discretion: Equity, Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals, etc.
(25 min) Activity 4. Urban Water System Mind Map
a. Team Activity: see the Activity 4 worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Jun24 16) for more details: three students per team, scale with class size.
b. Instructor chooses urban water system, the example Activity worksheet presents the University of Utah water system as the case study. Instructor may choose to make the case study the site of the team project.
c. Mind map must be submitted at end of class period with all requirements met in a form that is neat and organized and suitable for presentation to peers.
(5 min) Wrap Up
a. Review learning goals — questioning for classroom assessment technique
b. Reminder of homework if needed (mind map) and next class — hydrologic cycle
c. Muddiest Point Paper — Sustainability Concepts (Microsoft Word 28kB Jun24 16)
- Mind Mapping:
- What is a Mind Map from mindmapping.com
- Software for those wishing to use in class or recommend to students: Concept Draw mindmap software
- GoogleDocs is also a possible way to include collaborative mind mapping in an electronic form
- Watch Jared Diamond's Collapse or similar –instructors can reference to students to get them interested in additional broader learning.
- Description of Urban Water from the World Bank
- Blue City: The Water Sustainable City of the Near Future, Economics, January 2014.
- The report is 61 pages, but is very light reading with numerous pictures, quotes, etc. Instructors could summarize some key points in their remarks during class; or instructor may choose to assign the reading for an advanced course.
- Heaney, J.P., Wright, L., and Sample, D. (2000). Chapter 3: Sustainable urban water management. In Innovative Urban Wet-Weather Flow Management Systems, Edited by: Field, R., Heaney, J.P., and Pitt, R., Technomic Publishing Company, Inc., Lancaster, PA.
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Required Materials: flip chart, large Post-it notes, or similar large sheet paper and markers for mind map, handouts for Activities 2 and 4.
- The Microsoft PowerPoint presentation provides a guide for instructors, material to post for students as a review after class, and backup content to present in class as needed.
- The class content is set for an advanced level, but the general approach and sustainability concepts can be applied at different levels, even as high as graduate level.
- The reading in the instructors resources is fairly long, but is a fast read. The reading might be assigned in more advanced undergraduate and graduate engineering courses, or replaced with a simpler reading selected by the instructor.
- Activity 2 will be time-constrained if there are more than 20 students in the class. The instructor may elect to start the exercise with teams of four to accelerate the process.
- More time can be allocated to Activity 4, and less to Activity 2, as needed.
- Instructor may include a metacognition exercise by having students review their mind maps and reflect on the definitions of sustainability and sustainability concepts.
For each learning goal, an activity and assessment is suggested:
- Identify challenges and solution to water sustainability in cities (Assessment: Pre-Class Questions and In-Class Discussion)
- Define water sustainability in the context of cities (Assessment: In-Class Questioning)
- Explain systems thinking, triple bottom line, cradle to cradle, and other sustainability concepts and describe their relationship to water (Assessment: In-Class Discussion)
- Describe using systems thinking terminology, the interconnections of a water system to infrastructure, governance, people, economy, and other systems in cities (Assessment: Submitted Mind Maps)