The Idea of Environment

The environment is the milieu in which designers and planners operate. It is a messy world of facts, meanings, relations, and actions that calls them to intervene—that is, to make a plan, solve a problem, create a product, or strategize a process. They use various measures to assess and project their interventions from beauty and efficiency to systems and sustainability. Today, increasing volatility and uncertainty of the environment, however, alongside a growing sense and presence of crises and disasters, compels us to reconsider how we have imaged and imagined, defended and critiqued, planned and designed the environment. The class will explore how and what new approaches to representation, visualization, and measurement might lead to different relations in a changing world.  

This class is a seminar focused on reading and discussion. Course participants will be required to submit weekly reading responses, to contribute to discussions online and in class, and to develop an original research and/or design project over the course of the semester.