Territorial Intelligence: Towards an Evidence Based Design

Disciplines linked to cities are experiencing a period defiant to conventional theory, methodologies, programs and projects. In understanding that design is not solely an aesthetic quest, new challenges require designers to have the capacities, tools and knowledge to understand the nature of problems; approach design as an active research process, discipline and practice; and develop new and adequate responses. More than ever before, the value of design depends on gathering data, diagnosing hypotheses, and presenting an argument with this information as evidence of complex urban problems, rather than considering solely functionality or good design aesthetics.

In this millennium of intense urbanization, cities have increasingly become spaces of conflict, ranging from urban violence to segregation. Yet the city is also seen as a space of cohesion, a place for redistribution and for new mobilities, improved life quality, modernity and development. How can cities be mapped and documented throughout these changes and paradoxes? What is the relation between city form and structure in such transformations? How do we understand such impacts on everyday urban life? Is it possible to construct new design parameters and evidence for these new urban lives? Does this new information necessitate a certain kind of new evidence-based design?

This course explores these and other related questions by bringing together diverse research approaches to explore four main scopes: Territories of Conflict, Cities Economies, Infrastructural Mobilities, and Reconstructed Urbanity, into a research debate of critical issues in cities where even good design in not good enough. New tools amplify the impact of design towards the increasing demand to deliver public goods and services, yet still lack rigorous evidence that relates design strategies and impacts forecasting. Fostering innovations in spatial analysis, city science, and GIS integrated applications, the seminar looks to provide new insights into an evidence-driven approach to territorial quests through design research.

The seminar will consider such issues in territories, metropolitan regions, cities, and neighborhoods where emerging and shifting economies increase social problems, while development provides these vibrant centers with new opportunities. Design of public policy and projects depends on resourcefully increasing a city’s capacity to benefit each and all of its inhabitants, and must be based on a full comprehension of the kind and nature of the problem attended, which then enables as an evidence-based design for landscape, urban design and planning’s new geographies.