Sustainable Cities: Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Design

Lesson plan with video, grades 9–12




In this set of activities, students are introduced to sustainability in the urban context. They will describe their vision of a sustainable city, identify the challenges facing cities, and discover the ecosystem services provided by nature. Sustainable cities are much more than places where humans and nature coexist productively: they are cities in which all people—regardless of race, color, income, and so on—have equal access to a healthy environment in which they can flourish. In designing sustainable cities, planners must incorporate environmental justice ideals, and more broadly, social justice. The lesson guides students into taking an active role in their cities by using technology to map their communities and plan, design, and propose an urban design project that incorporates nature-based solutions.


Lesson Plan

Student Handouts


urban, cities, community, mapping, ecosystem services, green infrastructure, sustainability

Published February 2016, updated May 2016