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Sustainable Urban Environments

Aerial view of downtown Buffalo.

Downtown Buffalo

Cities are vital to our collective future. As our planet becomes increasingly urbanized, the UB College of Arts and Sciences, a key player in the ongoing Buffalo renaissance, is uniquely positioned to engage our city as a living laboratory in an effort to create the sustainable city of the future. The lessons we learn here in Buffalo will change the world.

Why now?

Cities constitute humanity’s certain destiny and our brightest hope. Covering just two percent of our world’s surface, cities house half of the world’s population and use 80 percent of the world’s energy. And in the coming decades, even more people and power will flow to cities. Human prosperity—indeed, human survival—depend on our ability to create healthier, more livable and more sustainable cities. 

The Sustainable Urban Environments Initiative will reshape our planet as we work together to create a comprehensive, holistic vision of urban sustainability. It will provide the critical training, invaluable resources and inspiration needed to turn today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders, passionate in their determination to, quite literally, change the world.

Why Buffalo?

  • Buffalo is a post-industrial “Rust Belt” city situated on an international border at the nexus of two Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. This offers key opportunities to study scientific and social issues related to complex, changing environments (both natural and human-made).
  • Buffalo is poised to change patterns of energy use, land use, transportation and manufacturing in ways that can serve as sustainable models for cities around the region, country and the globe.
  • As a community that continues to grapple with segregation and poverty, and as a leading U.S. resettlement hub for refugees, Buffalo provides the impetus and opportunity to develop and implement plans for promoting resilience, equity and growth.
Sustainable Urban Environments Contact

Susan Clark, PhD
837 Clemens Hall

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About the Sustainable Urban Environments Initiative

Current and Previous Projects

  • Andrew Hoffman, the Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, was welcomed to campus in September 2019 to visit with students and present on the ways that culture shapes the climate change debate.
  • In August 2019, about 75 stakeholders from U.S.-based watersheds around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario met in Buffalo with the aim of developing a region-wide collaborative research network to tackle sustainability and resilience challenges.

Campus Partners

A teacher and students gathered outside to view plants.

The Sustainable Urban Environments Initiative has partners across campus working to shape conversations and spur action.

Research Across UB

Students look skyward with binoculars.

UB and the College of Arts and Sciences have tremendous strength in research. Our professors are pursuing ways to create more sustainable urban environments across a variety of disciplines.

More information coming soon.

Educational Resources

Students reaching for a plant.

We have comprehensive interdisciplinary materials available for classroom use that can bring the topic of sustainability into each department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

More information coming soon.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN 17 sustainable development goals.

We integrate the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals into our interdisciplinary ideology. Each goal relates to many academic disciplines, and we believe each department has a connection with, at a minimum, several goals.

The Strategic Initiatives represent a vision for the College of Arts and Sciences centered around shaping a new era of liberal arts education: one that demands cross-disciplinary collaboration, drives technological and cultural innovation, and elevates every voice.