Social Justice and Sustainability in Poor Neighborhoods: Learning and Living in Southwest Detroit

Larissa Larsen, Laura S. Sherman, Laura B. Cole, Darshan Karwat, Krista Badiane, Paul Coseo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Sustainability is the new lens that many planning educators and practitioners employ in their efforts. We taught an undergraduate service-learning studio focused on neighborhood sustainability in Detroit, Michigan. To evaluate the course, we identified four desirable learning outcomes based on a modified environmental education framework. Students gained a sense of personal investment in the sustainability challenges faced by the community and developed a more nuanced understanding of the power relationships inherent in these issues. This educational framework can help instructors design and evaluate service-learning studios that highlight the embedded social justice issues in impoverished neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • neighborhood planning
  • poverty
  • service learning
  • social justice
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies

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