Design and planning students dive into Design Discovery: Harvard GSD

GSD Trays

Aspiring urban design and planning students are engaged in a six-week miniature studio as part of this summer’s Design Discovery program. Developed for high school graduates of any age or background, the program is meant to help students discern the next step in their careers, whether in a design-related field or otherwise.

This year, 21 urban design and 18 urban planning students are looking into the McGrath Highway and Brickbottom areas of nearby Somerville. It’s fertile ground for planning and design ideas: development is anticipated to ramp up with a new light rail extension, and there have been long-running discussions about demolishing the elevated highway to stitch together previously divided parts of the city. “The idea is to design strategies based on the student’s research and personal impressions on the site,” said urban design instructor Oscar Malaspina (MAUD’13). This year’s students comes from a variety of disciplines, from philosophy to marketing to engineering, and range from recent college graduates to mid-career professionals.

In addition to project-based studio work, all Design Discovery students spend their mornings in lectures by practitioners in urban design, planning, architecture, and landscape architecture. Guests have included recent Loeb Fellow Lynn Richards; David Spillane, a principal at Goody Clancy and artist Thomas Mills. There are also weekly drawing and representation classes, and field trips to sites around Boston.

“The students are wonderful, hand-working, and engaging,” said planning instructor Stephanie Brown (MUP’13). “This is the second year I’ve taught, and if it weren’t for graduation, I’d be happy to do it again.”

Learn more about Design Discovery: Harvard GSD.