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THE New School Launches ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES program exploring new frontier of the field

Focus on Urban Ecosystems and Sustainable Design Brings Together Strengths of The New School and Parsons The New School for Design


New York, June 26, 2008—The New School has announced that it is launching a groundbreaking new undergraduate degree program* in Environmental Studies that is amongst the first to bring together urban ecosystems and sustainable design—two areas of study that together constitute a new frontier of environmental education. Using New York City as its laboratory, students in this cutting-edge program will engage with the community to create solutions to today’s critical environmental problems, particularly those found in urban ecosystems. This interdisciplinary program includes both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Both will enable students to take a variety of courses offered at The New School's acclaimed design school, Parsons The New School for Design, and liberal arts college, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

"The environment is not just about rainforests and the polar ice caps, but also the cities in which most of the world's population lives," said New School President Bob Kerrey. "This program is truly pioneering—no other university brings together the study of design and urban ecosystems in such a dynamic way. And where better than New York City to study this new frontier of environmental education."

A majority of the world’s population currently live, work, and play in large urban areas. It is estimated by the year 2025, almost 5 billion of approximately 8 billion people worldwide will live in metropolitan areas like New York City. The New School, which is located in New York, is focusing its program on hands-on engagement with the city's natural ecosystems, which include a large estuary, fisheries, wildlife, and wetlands, to see firsthand how human activity in an urban setting can impact the environment.

The ambitious program is administered by The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center, the hub for environmental studies at the university. The center will develop curricula and provide student and faculty support, including research funding, fieldwork opportunities, internships, and other services. “The urban ecosystem and sustainability may be the most important areas of environmental study in this century," said Joseph Westphal, university provost and director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center. "We need to prepare the next generation of leaders who will help shape a sustainable world for future generations. In keeping with The New School’s legacy, this program will foster students’ creativity in their efforts to find solutions to these issues.”

In addition to its exploration of urban ecosystems, the New School's Environmental Studies program is distinct in that all students—whether enrolled in the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts—will participate in design studios in addition to science labs and seminar classes. “New School faculty in the social sciences, urban policy and management, natural sciences, and ecology will work with Parsons design faculty to discover creative approaches to teaching and research," said Joel Towers, Associate Professor of Architecture at Parsons. "The fact that our students will be taking studio classes only broadens their perspective on how to solve the environmental problems plaguing cities worldwide.”

Through the program, Bachelor of Arts students will be able to choose to concentrate in urban ecosystems or public policy. Bachelor of Science students will have the option of choosing a concentration either in sustainable design or urban ecosystem design. Both degree programs are cross disciplinary and include fieldwork, internships, and collaborative final projects. Through these activities, the program will prepare its graduates to enter a range of careers in the green business sector, the largest growth job market of the new millennium. These include but are not limited to government, environmental advocacy, energy conservation, green building, community organizing, neighborhood development, recycling, and education.

For further information about Environmental Studies at The New School, please visit


Located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, The New School is a center of academic excellence where intellectual and artistic freedoms thrive. The nearly 9,400 matriculated students and approximately 5,280 continuing education students who attend the university’s eight schools enjoy a disciplined education supported by small class sizes, superior resources, and renowned working faculty members who practice what they teach. Artists, scholars, and students from all walks of life attend its diverse programs and can earn everything from program certificates to Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral degrees. When The New School was founded in 1919, its mission was to create a place where global peace and justice were more than theoretical ideals. New School students participate in programs that to this day strive for academic excellence, technical mastery, and engaged world citizenship. The eight schools that make up The New School are: The New School for General Studies, The New School for Social Research, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, Parsons The New School for Design, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, Mannes College The New School for Music, The New School for Drama, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. For more information, visit

*Pending approval of the New York State Department of Education

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Editor's Note: For a full press packet, please visit