GSD introduces The Future of the American City initiative, with support from Miami’s Knight Foundation

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design announces a multi-year, multi-city endeavor entitled The Future of the American City, an urban study initiative aimed at helping cities tackle urgent challenges. Building on the GSD’s unique, multi-disciplinary model, the effort will use architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning and design to come up with actionable, efficient solutions that take into account community needs.

Research on Miami will form the first phase of the project; cities of future investigation include Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston.

To engage Miami residents in creating new approaches to address pressing urban issues—including affordable housing, transportation and sea level rise—the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing $1 million in support to the GSD and its Future of the American City initiative. With the funding, the school will embed urban researchers in Miami and Miami Beach to better understand the cities’ opportunities and challenges, and launch a multi-year study toward building solutions shaped by residents. Read the full press release.

“The Harvard Graduate School of Design is eager to partner with Miami and Miami Beach and to bring the school’s design expertise to bear on a set of complex issues affecting nearly everyone living in those communities on a daily basis,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley professor of design at the GSD. “In employing the model of the School’s design studios, our goal is to work across multiple fields of knowledge and research and develop a set of actionable, design-based recommendations to share with city and community leaders.”

The Miami-focused research will be led by Mostafavi as well as Harvard Graduate School of Design professors Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture, and Jesse M. Keenan, Lecturer in Architecture. The study will include a three-part series of courses being led at the school. This fall, a course will focus on mobility and transit in Miami, particularly Brickell, with a site visit in October 2018. A second course in Fall 2019 will examine the roles of higher education and medical institutions in Miami’s economy, and a third in Fall 2020 will focus on the roles of Miami’s various ethnic neighborhoods in shaping the city’s cultural identity.