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New course overcomes disciplinary barriers

Education Achievements

New course overcomes disciplinary barriers

The SEIS framework led to refinement of the social science course in our IGERT. The new course, called Theories of Sustainable Infrastructure Management, was offered in Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 and explores interactions among the framework's three social actor categories: individual users, infrastructure designer/operators, and policy actors. The course overcomes disciplinary barriers by applying and integrating diverse social science theories to explain change within urban infrastructure systems. For example, adopting a new law by policy actors (public policy theories) alters the behavior of infrastructure operators (strategic management theories) that later alters how individual users interface with infrastructure (social psychology theories). The course exposed engineers, architects, and planners to new ways to think about urban systems. Students are required to write papers in interdisciplinary teams applying the theories.