The Millennium Village Simulation was designed to help teach the challenge of sustainable development. The first course in which it was implemented is the undergraduate level "Challenges of Sustainable Development" course taught by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs at Columbia University.

Challenges of Sustainable Development

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in social and physical sciences. The course describes the interactions between physical ecology and economic development, and it stresses the ways in which they impact each other. Ecological constraints (climate, disease ecology, physical resources such as soils and energy sources, topography and transport conditions) significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, anthropogenic activities (farming, resource depletion, demographic stresses, and energy use) change the physical environment. The course offers a rigorous treatment of the field and aims to provide students with an understanding of economic development and its relation to nature's processes.