CCHU5001 Arts and Humanities
Designs on the Future (Online)

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)
  • The Human Life Span (HL)



Course Description

[This course will be delivered fully online.]

[This is a certified Communication-intensive (CI) Course which meets all of the requirements endorsed by HKU’s Senate, including (i) the teaching assessment of oral and digital communication ‘literacies’; and (ii) at least 40% of the course grade assigned to communication-rich assessment tasks.]

‘Designs on the Future’ is intended to inspire thinking about the way we should construct our future living environments in order to find the most sustainable balance.  We will explore the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they apply to Hong Kong, addressing issues of  population and urbanization, materials resources, and human systems, as a way of understanding what is a sustainable future might look like.  We will evaluate the different media and strategies that people have used / are using to advocate for more sustainable approaches to the environment and community.   

The course is conducted entirely online. Each week students are required to undertake up to one hour of online pre-class activities in preparation for mini-tutorials (30 mins online) and an interactive online workshop sessions which involve a wide range of group activities and exercises.   The pre-class components deliver the bulk of the course content, while the tutorials and workshop sessions help develop our understanding of sustainability issues, allow us to explore contexts and interconnections, and to apply the concepts to different scenarios.  We will be using Curios, an interactive virtual 3D environment within which student groups can collaborate, present and evaluate their coursework.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the built environment in relation to its physical and socio-cultural context, and to develop and articulate ideas about the relationship between human beings, the environment and how human experience are expressed in their constructions.
  2. Identify current issues relating to sustainable development and evaluate the extent to which these influence, and are influenced by, the landscape and built environment.
  3. Be able to evaluate the strategies adopted by people in making sustainability arguments, and to be able to develop an effective proposal for action on a local sustainability issue.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Online course material 12
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self-study 36
Workshop sessions 20
Assessment: Assignments 48
Total: 128

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Video production 15
Infographic diagram 20
Comic strip 20
Elective item 15
Project presentation 10
Postcards 10
Participation 10

Required Reading

In addition to weekly course videos, students will be required to read selected passages from the following texts:

  • ADM Capital Foundation and Civic Exchange. (2018). Illusion of Plenty: Hong Kong’s Water Security, Working Towards Regional Water Harmony.   
  • Burdett, R., Taylor, M., Kaasa, A., & Robazza, G. (2011). Hong Kong: cities, health and well-being.
  • China’s Green Long March, UN Environment Programme. (2013).
  • Frank, L. D., Appleyard, B. S., Ulmer, J. M., Chapman, J. E., & Fox, E. H. (2021). Comparing walkability methods: Creation of street smart walk score and efficacy of a code-based 3D walkability index. Journal of Transport & Health21, 101005.
  • Gatti, L., Ulrich, M., & Seele, P. (2019). Education for sustainable development through business simulation games: An exploratory study of sustainability gamification and its effects on students’ learning outcomes. Journal of cleaner production207, 667-678.
  • Morton, T. (2013). Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. University of Minnesota Press.    [Introduction & pt. 1 “What Are Hyperobjects? Viscosity” (pp. 29-37)]
  • Role of Technology in Implementing and Monitoring the SDGs. The 6th Economic and Social Council Youth Forum.
  • Sachs, J. D., Schmidt-Traub, G., Mazzucato, M., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., & Rockström, J. (2019). Six transformations to achieve the sustainable development goals. Nature sustainability2(9), 805-814.
  • Singapore National Water Agency. (2022). Singapore Water Story.
  • Solomon, J., Wong, C., & Frampton, A. (2012). Cities without ground: A Hong Kong guidebook. San Francisco: ORO Editions.
  • UNESCO’s Atlas of underground water. (2008). New Scientist. [Commentary]
  • WWF Eco-footprint HK. (2019).


Review these websites:

  • Mercer’s Cost of Living Index
  • Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index
  • UN’s metrics for sustainability goals
  • Hedley Environmental Index of Hong Kong


Watch these documentary videos:

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor M.R. Pryor
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture
Tel: 3917 7961
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor M.R. Pryor
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture
Tel: 3917 7961