France and Germany

470.755.91– Sustainable Cities in France and Germany: Lessons for the United States

Summer 2015 (Intersession off-site May 17-22, 2015)

470.755.91 Sustainable Cities


Dale Medearis, Ph.D.

NOTE ON SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL STUDY COURSE OFFERING: The MA in Government and MA in Global Security Program will offer an international course for the May Intersession of 2015, Sustainable Cities in France and Germany: Lessons for the United States (470.755.91), to be held in Washington DC, Berlin (Germany) and Paris (France). This course will be cross-listed and serve as an elective in the Environmental Sciences and Policy and the Energy, Climate and Policy MS Programs. This course is the equivalent of one elective course in the MA in Government Program, the MA in Global Security Program, the MA in Public Management, and with permission can be a non-online elective for the MS in Government Analytics. The course can count toward the Securities Studies Concentration for the MA in Government. It can also count as the core Energy and Environmental Security Concentration required class for the Global Security Program.

We are in what has been dubbed the “urban era” with more than half of the world population living in cities. Smart sustainable cities are seen as key to achieving global sustainability goals as set forth by the United Nations and also to meet goals of the sustainability initiatives of the European Commission. Berlin is widely recognized as a leader in both energy efficiency and water efficiency and Paris is considered a “pioneer in the smart cities arena” as it unabashedly strives to be a ville verte. The course will cover the policies and projects in Berlin and Paris addressing climate change (mitigation, adaptation and resilience), comprehensive energy planning, sustainable transportation, water infrastructure management and land-use planning.

Special emphasis will be given to informing students about the potential transfer and application of the selected policies and projects to the United States. The format of this class consists of equal parts briefings with senior-level national and local governmental officials and site visits to pioneering projects that offer potential lessons for adoption in the United States. Reading materials will consist of case studies and background materials designed to interpret the evolution of the project and in some cases the comparisons with equivalent projects in the US.

There will be three parts to this class.

  1. Students will meet in Washington DC (with call in access) for 1 session on Monday, May 11 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for an overview of urban sustainability in Europe and the U.S. and an orientation and pre-briefing of the in-country course trips to Berlin and Paris;
  2. The in-country portion of the class will take place May 17-20 in Berlin, Germany, and May 20-22 in Paris, France;
  3. A post-exchange de-brief in Washington DC (with call in option),  on Monday, June 1, 2015, 6-8 PM.
  4. Final papers will be due on June 19, 2015.

NOTE: Students will also be required to complete readings before the course meets in Europe and some discussions both before and after the field course via Blackboard.

Estimated Costs

  • Travel (To be purchased individually, U.S. to Berlin; Berlin to Paris; Return to US; local transportation) – $2,000
  • Lodging and Food (Paid by students directly) – $1,400
  • Course Fee (to cover some incidentals and JHU costs) – $600
  • Total for travel/accommodations/fees – $4,000
  • Course Tuition – $3,566


NOTE: Tuition rates and other costs are estimated and subject to change. Also, students MUST purchase their own travel health insurance if their existing insurance does not cover illness while abroad. This insurance is estimated to cost about $100.

Registration Information

  • Registration for the course will begin in early February 2015. ENROLLMENT IS LIMITED TO 15 STUDENTS. The deadline to register is March 10. Full payment of tuition and fees is due at the time of registration. If a student decides to drop this course before the March registration deadline, $500 of the tuition is nonrefundable. If a student drops the course on or after the March registration date, ALL tuition and fees are nonrefundable.
  • Students using financial aid, employer assistance, or tuition remission must also adhere to the nonrefundable tuition policy associated with this course. Students may not drop this course online, instead an add/drop form must be sent to the registration office.

For more information about the course, please contact Dr. Dale Medearis ( or Dr. Wolfson ( with any questions you may have about the class.


Saturday, May 16
Depart Washington

Sunday, May 17

  • Arrive Berlin
  • Free Time
  • Orientation Dinner / Speech on German Renewable Energy Policies

Monday, May 18

  • German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Environment
    Overview of German transportation and urban development planning and climate policies.
  • Berlin Transportation Agency (BVG), Frank Basler
    Overview of Berlin’s bus and rail services.
    Overview of German renewable energy policies.
  • VATTENFALL (Berlin Energy Utility)
    Overview of Berlin and German energy policy.
  • German Institute for Urbanism (DIFU)
    Overview of Berlin’s green infrastructure programs.
  • Berlin Water Agency
    Overview of Berlin’s water infrastructure systems.

Tuesday, May 19

  • Site Visits (All meetings and site visits will rely on public transit, including bike)
  • Klima Solar House
    Schulze-Boysen Strasse Energy Efficiency Apartment.
  • Water Infrastructure/Climate Adaptation
    Block 6 in Berlin-Kreuzberg: Rainwaterharvesting, Graywater harvesting & reuse, hydro- & aquaponics.
  • Potsdamer Platz

Wednesday, May 20

  • Berlin Smart Cities Project visit
  • Depart Berlin after 1 pm (students responsible for their own transfer)
  • Arrive Paris

Thursday, May 21

  • City of Paris, Environment, Transportation and Climate Departments
    Overview of Paris’ Climate and Transportation policies.
  • Veolia
    Overview of multi-national operations in context of district energy/urban infrastructure.
  • Cites Unies
    Sustainable climate programs in local governments in France.
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
    Best practices governance and regional Cooperation.

Friday, May 22

  • Site Visits (All meetings and site visits will rely on public transit, including bike)
  • Le Defense
  • Sustainable City and Transportation Cluster of Marne-la-Vallée
  • Velib – Bike Sharing in Paris (meetings and site visits)
  • Gennevilliers Office Complex
  • Isseane Waste-to-Energy Plant

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Return to the US

A complete syllabus and detailed program can be requested from the course instructors.


Health and Travel Insurance

Well before departure, check with your doctor to see if you need any immunizations or medications before traveling. Immunization information can also be found at the sites for the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization International Travel and Health. Click here for the Johns Hopkins University Travel Resources.

Participants should make sure their health insurance and accident insurance covers them while traveling abroad. Additional coverage can be purchased through a variety of travel insurance options. To compare policies and for further information, visit a travel insurance comparison site such as Insure My Trip or Square Mouth.

In addition, Johns Hopkins is a member of International SOS, which covers JHU students and offers medical assistance and emergency assistance. It is a 24 – Hour Worldwide Assistance and Emergency Evaluation Service available for Johns Hopkins University students. You do not need an SOS card. You simply need to be a member of the JHU community, traveling on a JHU and have the number:

International SOS is the world’s leading provider of medical assistance, international health care, security services and outsourced customer care. Member #11BSGC000019

For more information about SOS, click here. For more travel information please click here. Instructions for printing out your SOS card are provided there.

Important Forms for the Field Study:

These forms all need to be completed by May 1, 2015 .

NOTE: Emergency Contact Information in Germany and France will be provided before departure.

For more information on student travel, please click here.