Sustainable Cities Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about sustainable cities. Students will answer questions about a text and summarize some of the solutions to reducing the environmental impact in future cities.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on sustainable cities, students will be able to:

  • Cite textual evidence when answering questions about the text.
  • Summarize some of the retrofitting solutions to sustainability.
  • Use content-specific language when discussing EcoCities.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


  • Bus Rapid Transport (BRT)
  • carbon neutral
  • consumption
  • EcoCity
  • environmental impact
  • infrastructure
  • landfills
  • personal rapid transport (PRT)
  • retrofit
  • slum
  • solar array
  • sustainability
  • toxic
  • United Nations
  • urbanization


Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students before reading the lesson.
  • Read Sustainable Cities: Definition, Design & Planning as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What is a sustainable city?
    • What are some of the factors that influence sustainability?
    • What organization is working to create a plan for sustainable development?
    • What are some of the problems surrounding rapid urbanization?
    • How is San Francisco addressing problems with solid waste?
    • Why is public transportation so important in low-income areas?
    • What are some transportation solutions that are being explored?
    • What solution to wastewater is being used in Phoenix?
    • Describe how Masdar City is attempting to be carbon neutral.
    • Turn and talk: What are some things you can do to reduce your environmental impact?
  • Ask if there are any questions; then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Sustainability Posters

Materials: Copies of lesson, paper, pens, construction paper, markers, access to research materials

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