Ecological Strategies for Disturbed Sites

This applied lecture and workshop course focuses on the reuse and reconstruction of derelict and minimally managed urban landscapes. Emphasis will be placed on strategies for establishing sustainable plant communities on such public sites and encouraging their productive reuse by humans. The course will examine the challenges and opportunities of post-industrial land as well as the regulatory, public health, and technological aspects involved in the remediation of polluted sites. Seminar presentations and class discussions with the instructor and invited guest lecturers will focus on the interdependence between science, technology and design in addressing the issue of degraded landscapes. The lecture/discussion portion of the course will be supported by field trips to disturbed landscapes in the surrounding Greater Boston Area, including: the capped landfill on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, a remediated brownfield site on the campus of Wellesley College, and a wetlands area within the Charles River watershed. Local experts and/or officials will accompany the class on these trips. The seminar is intended to act as a broad introduction and overview to the subject of the adaptive reuse of post-industrial landscapes. It will also act as a bridge for students between earlier basic core courses in planning, design and environmental studies and more advanced individual research topics, including independent study, thesis preparation and option design studios. PREREQUISITES:Enrollment is open to all students of graduate standing. A similar class taught by the instructor last year included landscape architects, architects, urban planners, urban designers, environmental scientists, and public policy majors. Enrollment came from students from the Harvard Design School, MIT, and students undertaking advanced programs such as MDes, DDes and the Loeb Fellowship Program. The instructor welcomes interest from students with a wide range of academic and/or professional backgrounds. Grades will be based on an oral presentation and research paper covering a case study of the student\’s choosing.