This course provides an introduction to the systems inherent in adaptive, resilient design practices. What are the challenges and opportunities for designers when they create ​products, systems, and services that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable? This course begins to address that question. The curriculum is structured around four major themes; ​Climate Change, Materials, Energy,​and ​Water​. These interrelated themes frame students’ observations as they study real conditions that are both local and accessible and in­class discussions teach students to translate research into creative solutions. The class activities combine field trips, lectures, studio­based workshops, lab experiments and seminars. Both the fieldwork and applied research methods are then developed into creative works that support diversity, adaptability and resilience in the face of ever changing conditions.


Topic Selection:

This submission should be limited to a one-page outline which shows the general format of your final research paper. You will use this opportunity to explore viable research topics and narrow down your thesis statement.When choosing your topic, it should be something you have found interesting but you do not already know a lot about. It should also be something very specific. Your research should not be on a very broad, well-known and understood topic such as “recycling” or “urban farming” but instead be used as a tool to unearth new findings.

As you may have noticed, I am not limiting you on the topic you choose, I will require that your focus be very narrow. Some examples of broad topics vs narrow topics are as follows:

Broad: “Glacial Retreat” vs. Narrow: “The Impact of Glacial Retreat on the Hydrological Cycle in the Cordillera Oriental”

Broad: “Water & Conflict” vs. Narrow: “How a Lack of Safe Water Access in Syria is Driving Migration, Disease and Pollution”

Broad: “Coastal Resilience” vs. Narrow: “A Historical Perspective on Migration in the Maldives: What Took the People There and What is Sending Them Away”

Broad: “Sustainable Food Systems” vs. Narrow: “Bee-Keeping Techniques and Strategies on Managing Cross-Pollination in Agriculture”

Broad: “Self-Driving Cars” vs. Narrow: “The Ethical, Environmental and Economic Quandaries of Adopting Driverless Cars”


Thesis Statement:

Your outline should begin with an emboldened single thesis statement, limited to one concise sentence which will summarize what your entire paper will be about. The challenge in this is that you must first do the research in order to determine what an appropriate thesis statement will be. Every section of your paper should respond in some way or another to this thesis statement, and if it does not should either be eliminated completely or the thesis statement must change. This is a process and you should find yourself updated your thesis statement regularly as you uncover more information you didn’t know before.

The following are appropriate thesis statements for two of the topics listed above:

Topic: “The Impact of Glacial Retreat on the Hydrological Cycle in the Cordillera Oriental” Thesis: Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation rates in the Colombia’s Cordillera Oriental have resulted in receding glaciers which have historically supplied lower-elevations and their populations with a consistent source of water, a requisite in a climate which is seasonally dry and arid.

Topic: “How a Lack of Safe Water Access in Syria is Driving Migration, Disease and Pollution”  Thesis: As access to potable water becomes increasing difficult in war-torn Syria, mass populations are forced to live in over-populated refugee camps, increasing their risk of respiratory, food-related and waterborne diseases and over-exposing them to unsanitary conditions.




The outline should begin with the thesis statement emboldened. The rest should be broken down into 5 or 6 sub-topics which support the thesis statement. Each of these should have about 2-3 sentences which summarize what that section of the paper will be about and should each be cited on the following page (see Works Cited below). The outline should be limited to one-page and everything should be cited and reinforce the thesis statement.


Works Cited:

In addition to the one-page outline, you will need a second page which has a minimum of 10 unique cited works which you reference within your outline. Only 5 of these can come from websites. The other five must come from either books or research papers which you can find in abundance here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Research paper outline