Sustainable Development & Environmental Change

Green Buildings & Urban Sustainability

Dr. Melissa Keeley studies how cities collect information and make decisions about green building policy policy and is currently engaged in research examining the sustainability plans of more than 40 US cities, and how public buildings in these cities are accruing “LEED” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building points.  She investigates the use of planning instruments such as the Green Area Ratio and Stormwater Retention Credit Trading, which are designed to promote green infrastructure (trees, green roofs, rain gardens, etc.) and manage storm water, as elements of urban sustainability in Washington, D.C.  and New York City. Her EPA and NOAA funded research on the environmental benefits of green infrastructure directly led to zoning ordinance changes in Seattle and DC.

Social & Institutional Aspects of Development

Dr. Mona Atia’s research examines the impacts of social and institutional actors on the development process and the geographic/spatial expression of neo-liberal development strategies.  She studies the role of institutions in the development of new socio-economic spaces that exacerbate inequalities while attempting to achieve social justice as well as the effects of engaging communities as long-term partners in the development process. Her published works range from articles on predatory mortgage lending in the United States to the effects of development practices of Islamic charities in Cairo, Egypt on the economic and social landscapes of the city.   Dr. Atia is a founding member of the Muslim Philanthropy Network.



GEOG 3143: Urban Environmental Issues

Students learn about various issues relating to urban sustainability in this class.  Pictured here, students are doing a project with a community partner, Casey Trees.  The project involved students taking an inventory of trees on the GW campus; measuring trunk diameter and tree canopy. 


GEOG 6244: Seminar in Urban Sustainability

Geography 6244 challenges graduates students to explore both the theory and practice of urban sustainability.