Urban Design Contexts and Operations

The course focusses essentially on modern, including contemporary, contexts and operations that have emerged during the past 100 or so years. Here urban design is broadly regarded as a concern for the ‘thingness’ of constructed environments above the scale of singular buildings and in response to resolving competing claims brought to bear through design. Contexts refer to particular situations and orientations taken in urban design, whereas operations refer to actions involved in specific work and practical applications. It is a lecture-seminar class where participation is required of those in the first semester of Urban Design Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and is intended to satisfy this program’s curriculum requirement in ‘History-Theory’. Students will be required to make one-page summaries of selected readings each alternative or second week of the semester and assigned in pairs or threesomes to make presentations of further materials and several urban design projects beginning in the second week of class. The aim is to introduce students to important developments and literacy in the field of urban design, along with matters of on-going and current speculation. What follows is an outline of weekly topics along with a short reading list for each that forms a background for the lectures and later discussion. Apart from making a one-page summary each second week of the assigned text and specific assigned presentations in a given week, all students are expected to prepare and participate in seminar discussions. All lecture components for each week’s theme will be available in asynchronous pre-recorded illustrated form.

Enrollment in this course is limited to incoming students in the GSD Master of Urban Design program.