+ Sustainable Community Development – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \

Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Community Development is an interdisciplinary program that integrates curricular and experiential components in architectural studies, economics, environmental studies and sustainability. The program familiarizes students with the concept of sustainable development as applied to real world communities. Requirements include technical writing, service learning and methods courses. The goal of these courses is to provide students with skills such as survey design, statistics, ethnography, cost/benefit analysis, historical archive research, GIS, environmental impact assessment and others that will be valuable in community-based research and service projects.

Student Resources

Alum Profile: Zach Felder '18

Zach Felder '18

Major: Architectural Studies Major, Sustainable Community Development Minor

“Sustainable Community Development helped me take the theory I was learning in the architecture program and ground it in reality. The capstone course was challenging but we saw the importance and fun of engaging with everyone in the community for our design. If you just try to come up with ideas on your own you might get some good ones, but if you talk to local leaders and city planners and people who live in the city, who have interesting ideas and want to be involved in projects going on in public spaces, it’s a much more rewarding process.”

Meet Our Faculty

The faculty in the program stem from a myriad of backgrounds, providing students with a breadth of knowledge on sustainable community development. Through field-based coursework and collaborations with local municipalities, you will gain exciting new knowledge from experts in the field. Scroll below to meet our team of scholars, artists, innovators and above all, teachers. Meet the entire department >

Sustainable Community Development News

HWS Community Donation Effort Underway
HWS Progresses Toward Climate Neutrality Goal
Bikes, Electric Vehicles and Car Sharing
More Sustainable Community Development News

Spotlight: Recent Grad

Recent Grad

Stacey Davis '15

Current Position: City Planner, New Haven City Planning Department

Current Location: New Haven, Conn.

Major: Environmental Studies

Minors: Biology and Sustainable Community Development

View Full Profile

SCD Capstone Course Reports

Each student enrolled in the Sustainable Community Development minor will complete ENV 402: Sustainable Community Development Capstone. The capstone course incorporates a community-based research project that partners SCD faculty and students with campus and community stakeholders to generate ideas on how to solve a local community and/or create additional opportunities in the community. Below, you will find the final reports from previous capstone projects.

Class Complete Course List

Building Accessible Communities: A Vision for the Central Castle Street Corridor (spring 2018)

Recommendations for Sustainable Materials Management in the Town of Geneva (spring 2016)

Multimodal Transportation and Place-Making in Uptown Canandaigua (spring 2015)

Sustainable Stormwater Management for Sucker Brook Watershed (spring 2015)


Related Programs

Students enrolled in the Sustainable Community Development program often participate in the Architectural Studies, Entrepreneurial Studies and Environmental Studies Programs. These disciplines share themes, courses and faculty with the Sustainable Community Development minor.

Architectural Studies

The core of the Colleges’ pre-professional program in Architectural Studies is a belief in the value of design as an iterative process and the importance of developing a critical eye on the art, architecture, landscapes, and cities of our time.

Entrepreneurial Studies

The HWS Entrepreneurial Studies Program challenges students to become well-rounded leaders and resourceful innovators who are globally aware and community-centric. With an emphasis on the conceptual understanding, practical skills and ethical structure necessary for business or civic leadership, the Entrepreneurial Studies Program cultivates agents of change across a wide-range of causes and careers.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program has been shaped largely in part by a student initiative that began in the 1970s. The interdisciplinary program provides students with a solid understanding of the environment as it relates to other natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.