Design of Resilient Communities

12 Credits

Resilient Design practices are at the forefront of design thinking because they acknowledge that our efforts to stem the tide of climate change have not been enough. The harsh reality is that design in the 21st century will be focused on adaption to climate change. Resilient design is an area of study that builds special skills, knowledge and approaches to guide organizations to continue to flourish within a challenging environmental, social and economic challenges.


All applicants to the Resilient Communities Certificate Program will automatically be considered for Jefferson’s Climate Leadership Scholarship! Selected students who receive this award will benefit from a 25% tuition reduction for each course taken in their first certificate program. There is no separate application required, so once the Office of Admissions receives an applicant’s university application, official transcripts and resume, recipients will be notified. Awards are limited – so apply now! Students currently enrolled at Jefferson are not eligible for this scholarship. For more information regarding the Climate Leadership Scholarship, please contact Graduate Admissions at 215-951-2943.

Design of Resilient Communities is a STEM designated program (CIP Code 04.0902). 


FALL SEMESTER: 6 credits

What is sustainability and why is it essential for the future of humanity? Learn how to analyze and articulate the sustainability imperative across four dimensions—ecology, economy, experience and equity—while examining sustainability considerations at multiple scales in the built environment, from cities and regions to individual buildings and interiors.

This course is a hands-on introduction to the notion of how designs benefit by being adaptable. This is investigated at three scales to see what adaptability implies at the individual, site/building and city scales; and how an approach to adaptability changes accordingly. Topics include thermal comfort, adaptive opportunities, passive design, scenario planning and resilience. The course investigates frameworks and tools for designing at each scale and between scales holistically, including the integral design framework and systems thinking.


This course is about exploration, various points of view and transcending disciplinary boundaries. We will traverse the 'landscape' and examine it through the lens of the various disciplines to understand each perspective and how it shapes our environment and culture. Through readings from leading architects, landscape architects, geographers, and historians, we will dissect the ways in which culture influences human conceptions of landscape and the environment, the effect of humans on the environment and the impact the environment and landscape has on humans.

This studio-based course features the stakeholder driven integrated design process as a means to generate regenerative and resilient design solutions for communities. Students will learn and use regenerative principles as the basis of design.