The Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design program introduces post-professional students, already trained in architecture or landscape architecture, to the critical concepts, strategies, and technical skills associated with contemporary Urban Design research and practice. Through studio and coursework, students are challenged to imagine new formal and organizational strategies for the delivery of housing, infrastructure, and a democratic public realm by taking on issues of inequality, climate change, the environment, and public health. Through history and theory lecture courses, seminars, and research projects, students engage a range of critical frameworks and conceptual models for understanding the complex socio-spatial dynamics of urban design practices and the technological, institutional, and political contexts in which they operate over time and across cultures and geographies.
Since the emergence of Urban Design as a modern practice in the 19th century and its establishment as a distinct field of study at Harvard in 1960, the scope and ambition of Urban Design has significantly expanded. As cities grow and diversify, so does the landscape of urban and peri-urban conditions. Globally, the expansion and transformation of metropolitan regions has introduced new scales and urban archetypes, producing an even wider range of local characteristics, cultural identities, and community needs requiring attention and resolution. This increase in formal, social, economic, and environmental complexity has further complicated the field of urban design, shifting the geography and focus from rigid specialization in primarily western contexts to trans-disciplinary and internationally varied processes that embrace complexity and anticipate change.
During their two years of study, students develop the necessary literacies to critically engage with, interrogate the character, and transform the form of complex built environments. In addition to diverse course offerings, numerous research opportunities with faculty further enrich a dynamic and exciting learning environment for exploring and advancing meaningful responses to the challenges of our time.