Summer Abroad Europe - Instructor

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Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe

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Catherine Brinkley

Human Ecology

Department Website

Dr. Catherine Brinkley is an urban planner (PhD) with a focus on environmental planning and public health.

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Jeff Loux, Professor Emeritus

Landscape Architecture + Environmental Design

Department Website

 A Message to Students and Parents from Catherine Brinkley

After I graduated from Wellesley College, I was fortunate to have a Fulbright to Sweden. I came to study public health, but quickly realized how large an influence environmental planning played in health. Many cities in Northern Europe are compact, easily traveled by bike, foot, or public transit. I could bike for hours on designated bike paths through the city! Most cities have easy access to nearby farmland and natural areas, and I relished buying farm-fresh food at the central market or picking berries and mushrooms in the nearby countryside. The air quality and cleanliness of Scandinavian’s largest cities astounded me. People swim in Central Stockholm's harbors. Shockingly, I learned that the country imports trash, burning it to heat water which is piped in an underground network to most of the city's buildings. Later, I would find that even though Sweden has one of the highest per capita energy uses, it is one of the few countries which has consistently decreased its GHG emissions per capita since the 1970s. I wondered: how? This question fueled my research career. With this summer abroad course, I hope to share some of that wonder with students as we eat, walk and talk our way through the Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe. 

What Students Are Saying

  • "I have learned more and understand more now than I feel I have during my entire time at Davis."
  • "I have grown and come to understand what I would like to do for a living."
  • "I feel like I've left the program more focused on my academic goals. I feel like I've learned something many people haven’t learned and will carry it with me for the rest of my life."
  • "The instructor combined fun and learning, balancing academic work with free time to explore the cities."
  • "My original expectations were not only met but I learned and experienced more than I expected. This program is awesome. I wouldn't change anything."
  • "It has truly changed my outlook on life."
  • "My eyes have been widened. I have learned SO many new things. They might be minor for others but for me it has been very impacting."
  • "This was truly an awesome program, and a life changing experience for me. I know the direction I want to take in my profession. And, it was a lot of fun."
  • "Learning about different cultures, languages, food, and values has been a huge plus; it is more than a class."