Publics is the study of human groups and their interactions. This Domain within the MDes program sets out to support novel approaches to socio-spatial planning and advocacy through design. Design as a discipline provides cities, territories, and publics with tools to effectively prepare for, cope with, and anticipate rapid change within the spatial, social, and economic vulnerabilities it produces. The Publics Domain prepares students to identify, articulate, and propose preemptive forms of practice.

Gentrification and migration have become central conceptual problematics of our times, as is evidenced by the claims of current crisis analysts that there are more displaced people on the planet than at any other time. Race, power, and resistance in the city have renewed urgency for design and planning. Public health is a core concern of urban and rural settlement.

To understand and plan to intervene in such issues, students in the Publics Domain will consider the built and the living environment equally, focusing on group subject formations, their inter-relationships and differences. As a Domain, we will aim to define what constitutes the public realm, how it is legible, meaningful, and desirable, and for whom.

Area Head

Toni L. Griffin, Professor in Practice of Urban Planning