DESST 3517 - Environment III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Students in this course will consider cities, landscapes and urban environments as complex living systems within, sustainability, liveability, ethical and political contexts. At metropolitan and local scales issues of planning and design including: urban sprawl, public space, perpetual growth, plants, climate change, resources, microclimate, transport, water, waste, agriculture and energy will be explored. The course aims to develop skills in critical thinking and knowledge of the technological, building codes standards, scientific and cultural factors that drive and define the problems that designers engage with to make positive contributions.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 3517
    Course Environment III
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge DESST 2517
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDes & B.E(Arch) students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description Students in this course will consider cities, landscapes and urban environments as complex living systems within, sustainability, liveability, ethical and political contexts.

    At metropolitan and local scales issues of planning and design including: urban sprawl, public space, perpetual growth, plants, climate change, resources, microclimate, transport, water, waste, agriculture and energy will be explored. The course aims to develop skills in critical thinking and knowledge of the technological, building codes standards, scientific and cultural factors that drive and define the problems that designers engage with to make positive contributions.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Ehsan Sharifi

    Dr Ehsan Sharifi
    Phone: 08-8313-0317
    Students contact hours: Fridays 1-3pm (Room 475, Horace Lamb Building)

    Please respect the facilities throughout the University.

    In the School of Architecture and Built Environment students are required to fabricate models, projects and other hands-on creative activities. Of course, you will make a mess in the process! No problem! Please clean up after yourself. If the materials are recyclable and you don't want to reuse them yourself, put them in the recycling bins. Don't leave paper/cardboard/offcuts on the floor or table, put them in the bin. Don't leave broken blades etc. on tables, put them in a sharps bin. Don't leave work (models, drawings etc) in a space (tutorial room, computer lab, studio) and expect to find it when you come back. The facilities are shared. The School recommends that you store your work in a locker available from ASA or in Hub Central.

    The tables in the learning and teaching spaces (tutorial rooms, computer labs, studios) are NOT cutting mats. Would you use an exacto knife or a scalpel to cut model making materials directly on your dining table at home? No? Don't do it at the University. Use a cutting mat. If you don't have one, buy one. All students should have a cutting mat in their Equipment Kit. You are expected to bring this with you if you are model-making, using glue etc.

    Students are permitted to bring food and drink into the learning and teaching spaces. Please respect your peers. When you have finished your bottle of water, coffee cup, bubble tea, Coke, juice, Boost, Red Bull etc. etc. put it in the bin. Don't leave your takeaway meal festering on a table cultivating mould. Put it in the bin.

    The importance of hygiene and cleanliness is amplified during COVID 19. Respect your peers. Respect your facilities. Please clean up after yourself at all times. This is your responsibility.

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Mondays, 9:00-10:00am, Barr Smith South 3029 Flentje Lec Theatre, live stream at Zoom or online in ECHO 360 

    Mondays 10am-12pm / 12-2pm / Barr Smith South 510,511 
    Mondays 2pm-4pm at Zoom 

    Mondays 10:00-12:00 and 12:00-14:00 - Barr Smith South 539 (W5-W8) + live stream at zoom

    W1: Introduction to Cities and Climate Change
    W2: Low Carbon, Zero Waste and Resilient Cities
    W3: Healthy, Liveable and Biophilic Cities
    W4: CoA Strategic Plan and Urban Greening
    W5: Urban Microclimates
    W6: Outdoor Thermal and Wind Comfort
    W7: Public Space and Public Life
    W8: Urban Cooling Strategies
    W9: Case Studies of Sustainable Urban Design - online
    W10: Case Studies of Urban Heat Adaptation
    W11: Green, water and energy in the city
    W12: Final Remarks 
    W14: Students presentation 

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    A) Develop an understanding of the various physical, social-cultural and environmental layers of a city and the ways these interact to form the urban environment.
    B) Demonstrate general understanding of theoretical models and analytical approaches to dissect existing urban environments, develop critical (re)framings and applying urban retrofitting measures to address urban sustainability and liveability.
    C) Develop an experiential sensitivity to urban environments, and a creative imagination that visualises how cities may change, and the ability to represent such future scenarios using sketches, text, map, image and data.

    D) Acquire in-depth research skills of the following modes in application to urban analysis and representation: (1) mapping; (2) data and infographics; (3) documentation; (4) outdoor microclimate field measurements and survey; and (5) critical writing.
    E) Develop practical skills to work with urban microcliamte measurement equipment and simulation software.
    F) Build abilities in teamwork and time management for group and individual work

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    A, B, C, D
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    B, D, F
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    B, E, F
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    C, E
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    A, C
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed reader or course pack for this course, but specific readings and other materials may be assigned and/or made available through MyUni. Students are also expected to be able to independently research relevant readings and materials while working on their assignments, drawing on the collections in the Barr-Smith library, the State Library of South Australia, the City of Adelaide archives, as well as other local or specialist collections where warranted.
    Recommended Resources
    A partial list of recommended readings to provide starting points for further research will made available to students through email and MyUni. Other recommended resources, including software, online tools, and production techniques, will also be developed progressively over the course of the semester and posted to MyUni or circulated via email.
    Students are encouraged to take an active interest in the research activities of the department, including the programs of CAMEA and CASRU, as well as the Speaker Series talks and other occasional events.
    Online Learning
    University Email:
    The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    MyUni is an essential online tool which will be used to communicate information regarding the course including details of assignments and interim grades. There are many other learning resources and assessment pieces that rely on the MyUni system for delivery. Therefore it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the various functions of MyUni and employ it to its fullest extent.

    Discussion Board:
    The MyUni Discussion Board can be used to interact with other students and tutors and is an essential tool to discuss information and increase your understanding of issues.

    Lecture Recording:
    In certain cases the recording of the lectures is made available in electronic format for students to listen through on their own time and make notes, and is provided through the MyUni system. However, this service is only available for lectures with essential course content and may not include guest lectures. Furthermore, where the presentation content is subject to copyright or the guest speaker is uncomfortable with the recording of the content, the lecture recording will not be made available online. So students should not rely solely on this mode of learning and arrange to attend or get lecture content from peers.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at current-student
    Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course advances its learning objectives primarily through a project-based approach built around the production of the “Readings” project books, delivered with a combination of lecture and tutorial modes. Online-based collaborative and communication modes also constitute an important aspect of the course. The MyUni system will provide the basic online platform for the course, but other online tools and media may also be explored and employed.

    Lectures define the common core of the subject, delivering the basic references and knowledge defining the course content. All students come together at one time in the lecture room - for this reason lectures are also an important space for overall organisation and feedback. Attendance at lectures is therefore essential. Where students are unable to attend lectures, review of the lecture is required through posted recordings and presentation materials posted on MyUni.

    Tutorials are the working space for the subject. Capped at 27 students, this is where the concepts and materials from lectures are discussed, clarified, and applied through small group discussion and collaboration, guided by the tutor. The tutorials are also where the main face-to-face collaborative working arrangements are developed and sustained in order to advance the work leading to the completion of the project books.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements:
    The University expects full‐time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote at the minimum 12 hours per week to contact activities and self‐guided studies.
    Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:
    Total workload hrs: 12 hours per wk x 14 wks (inc. of mid‐semester break) = 168 hours
    Total contact hours: 3 hours per week x 12 weeks = 36 hours
Total self‐guided study: 168 – 36 hours = 132 hours
    These 132 hours should be used towards for working on the various assignments associated with the course, including development of requisite research, knowledge, and skills. Please organise your time wisely!
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1: Introduction to Cities and Climate Change
    Week 2: Low Carbon, Zero Waste and Resilient Cities
    Week 3: Healthy, Liveable and Biophilic Cities
    Week 4: CoA Strategic Plan and Urban Greening 
    Week 5: Urban Microclimates
    Week 6: Outdoor Thermal and Wind Comfort
    Week 7: Public Space and Public Life
    Week 8: Urban Cooling Strategies 
    Week 9: Case Studies of Sustainable Urban Design - online
    Week 10: Case Studies of Urban Heat Adaptation
    Week 11: Green, water and energy in the city
    Week 12: Final Remarks
    Specific Course Requirements
    Failure to attend teaching due to medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances is dealt with the School Policy, administered by the School Office. Submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration together with the original signed medical or other relevant officer, to the School Office. If you foresee a problem contact the Course Coordinator BEFORE the problem actually occurs. Otherwise, contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible and submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration to the School Office.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    A majority of teaching and learning excercises during tutorials are caries via small group discovery experience when students analyse urban environmental issues from different points of view. 
    Assignment 3 is a small group discovery experience.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assignment 1: Environmental sustainability/liveability poster 25%
    Assignment 2: Outdoor microclimate assessment 30% 
    Assignment 3: Microclimate Simulation and Design 30% 
    Weekly Quizzes 15%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    To do well, students need to participate in all class activities. Please make sure you attend regularly and come prepared for class.

    Assessment Detail
    *Assignment 1 is an individual task (25%)
    Students present an A1 poster on a subject matter related to environmental sustainability, liveability, climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.
    Topics (non-exclusive): urban heat island mitigation, climate change resilient built environment, regenerative urban space, productive landscapes, low carbon precincts, water sensitive urban design, urban greening and etc.
    Scale: block, public space, landscape, precinct, neighbourhood, urban, regional
    Assignment requirements:
    Each student should select a relevant topic and perform research based on instructions given in week 1 to week 3 and prepare an A1 poster consists of:
    Title and project highlights (3-5 dot points)
    Body text - 600-1000 words including introduction, literature review, analysis and summary
    List of references (including at least 10 journal papers/books/chapters to support the poster topic)
    An original (student own [re] production) figure/table/chart to support poster contents
    An original (student own) sketch/image/photo to support poster contents
    Additional figure/table/chart/sketch/image/photo(s) may be used from other sources with proper citation
    Referencing style: Author, Date, Harvard or APA

    *Assignment 2 is an individual task (30%)
    In Assignment 2 you collect and analyse urban microclimate and surface cover data in urban environments.
    The data may be related to outdoor surface covers at North Terrace or Waite Campus(es) of UoA or somewhere near your home which you can access conveniently for 2 days.
    Essential instruments (IR thermometer and anemometer) will be provided to the students during the data collection weeks (2 Mondays from W4-W8 depending on weather conditions)
    Students who are remote and cannot attend the data collection weeks will be assigned an appropriate level of responsibility by the course coordinator.
    During the data collection days, the whole class will collect data on 10 tree species and 10 common outdoor surface covers (i.e. concrete, asphalt, paving, grass and etc.) at the direction of their tutors.
    Every student will spend approximately 2 hours on data collection and will be able to access the entire dataset collected by the whole class for their assignment 2!
    Assignment requirements:
    Students are to select two common surface materials and two tres from the list.
    General weather information of the city during data collection will be provided to all students.
    Data for the surface materials and trees are to be analysed, compared and discussed according to the template provided.
    Data collection and report templates can be downloaded from Software and Data Collection Resources.
    Submission format:

    *Assignment 3 is a group work (groups of 3-4 students - 30%)
    In Assignment 3 students simulate the urban microclimate conditions in a real site and propose design options to enhance environmental and social sustainability and livability of the site.
    Site 2021:
    Gate 12 of the University of Adelaide
    Deliverable 1: current microclimate analysis
    ENVI-met simulation results and analyses of microclimate conditions at site (21 June and 21 December 9am to 9pm - every 3 hours).
    Shading analysis of the site (Rhino/SketchUp) (21 June and 21 December 9am to 9pm - every 3 hours)
    An initial area file and a 3D model of the site will be provided to the students for this stage.
    Deliverable 2: proposed microclimate design and analysis
    2 concept design for microclimates improvements (to outdoor thermal comfort, support passive heating/cooling via changes in permanent/temporary architectural/landscape features.
    Simulation of each design scenario in ENVI-met and compare and discuss before-after proposed design conditions for summer and winter.
    Site environmental sustainability for the final design proposal (stormwater, irrigation and greenery management, renewable energies and waste recycling/reuse)
    For ENVImet simulation we use simple forcing and bellow values:
    Summer: 21 December 2019 - wind speed 5m/s; wind direction 180° S; 20<T<42; 10<RH<50.
    Winter: 21 June 2019 - wind speed 4m/s; wind direction 315° NW; 8<T<16; 40<RH<80.
    Submission format:
    3-4 x A1 Poster or similar (flexible to use other page sizes as far as they fit within 1682mm x 1189 mm or 2xA0 in total)
    Posters should include approach, concept, context analysis and design
    Posters will be presented by groups in W14
    300dpi PDF/JPG version of posters should be uploaded to MyUni prior/after the presentation in W14
    2 x ENVI-met Area Input File (.inx) for design proposals should be uploaded too
    One submission is enough for each group when names and responsibilities are appropriately addressed.

    Weekly quizzes
    Every week there is an online quiz as part of the tutorial/workshop that will be accessible on Mondays after the lecture at 6am and has to be completed by 6pm of the same day. The online component has 2 multiple choice questions each week and assesses the students' uptakes of the course contents and is accounted 15% of the final grade in ENV III.


    Task/Assignment No. & Name Due date Time Weight Submission Method
    Assignment 1: Assignment 1: Environmental Sustainability/Liveability Poster 16 Aug 10pm 25 online + presentation in class
    Assignment 2: Outdoor microclimate assessment 4 Oct 10pm 30 online 
    Assignment 3: Microclimate Simulation and Design 8 Nov 10pm 30 online and presentation on W14
    Weekly Quizzes Mondays  10pm 15 online via MyUni quiz

    All details about the individual assignment submissions and online participation tasks will be provided on MyUni / Canvas.
    Please note the following general points about Submissions:
    All submissions must include Student Name and Student ID Number. Submissions without Student Name or ID Number will not be considered for marking, and will receive zero marks in accordance with the guidelines.
    Please adhere to submission deadlines and follow instructions provided.
    Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the Course Coordinator.
    On occasion, the lecturer/tutor may wish to retain students’ work for future reference and the relevant student will be informed at such a time.
    Early Submission:
    There is an early submission box located on Level 4 which is cleared out daily at 10am. Please mark your submission clearly before placing in box. Online submissions can be made prior to the due date.
    Models for in-class presentation cannot be handed in early.
    Late Submission:
    The school will NOT accept late submissions and any such assignment will receive zero marks. This also applies to electronic submissions.
    Printing delays & hard disk crashes will not be entertained as legitimate causes for delay, so please ensure that the work is finished in advance. Online submissions can also take time when file sizes are large and this can result in delayed submissions. The School recommends submissions < 50MB.
    The school has a resubmission policy whereby students can redeem failed work by submitting additional work for a maximum of 50%.
    Good practice:
    Students should ensure that they regularly backup their work on multiple locations as hard-disk crashes are an unfortunate reality. When relying on community printing facilities, students should attempt to finish their work in advance to avoid unnecessary delays. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted (digital or hardcopy), as originals may be lost during the submission process.
    For modified arrangements of submission and assessment due to special circumstances see the following Assessment Task Extension(s) & Additional Assessment guidelines.
    Modified Arrangements (General)
    Students can apply for extensions or modified arrangements based on Medical conditions or other Extenuating circumstances. However, students need to submit their application along with supporting documents within 5 business days of the condition becoming applicable.
    The application form (the 'Blue Form') is available from the Front Office and needs to be submitted at the Front Office along with any supporting documentation. It is not sufficient, for example, just to submit a medical certificate. If you are sick a medical certificate needs to be appended to the Blue Form.
    Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance and the Course Coordinator will inform the applicant if the application is accepted. Please DO NOT contact the Course Coordinator directly.
    Medical Reasons:
    In case of an extended medical condition which makes it impossible for the student to submit the work on time, an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Medical Circumstances (Blue Form) may be lodged with the Front Office along with a doctor’s certificate within 5 business days.
    Extenuating Circumstances:
    If the student is unable to submit the work on time due to extenuating circumstances an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Extenuating Circumstances (Blue Form) may be lodged with the Front Office. Please note that this is only available for certain military, religious, or legal obligations and does not extend to minor personal problems.
    Compassionate Grounds:
    In case of certain extraordinary personal problems students can apply for extensions based on compassionate grounds (Blue Form). However, these must first be discussed with the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.
    Student Support:
    For a full range of student support services visit
    Additional Assessment:
    If a student receives a Fail grade for the course with an overall mark between 45 and 49, they may be eligible for an Offer of Additional Assessment which would allow them to get a maximum of 50 Pass for the Course.
    Additional Assessment offers are made by the School and the student will be informed directly once these are made available.
    Students who have a disability and wish to seek modified submission or assessment arrangements can contact the
    University Disability Services at and then communicate this to the Course Coordinator in person by appointment.
    Elite Athlete:
    Students who have national/international sporting commitments and wish to seek modified submission or assessment
    arrangements need to register with the University Elite Athlete Support Scheme at and then communicate this to the Course Coordinator in person by appointment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.