Entry Date:
March 5, 2009

Landscape and Urbanism Initiative

Principal Investigator Alan Berger

Co-investigators James Wescoat , Anne Spirn , Eran Ben-Joseph

The School of Architecture + Planning is launching a new initiative exploring how landscape and design can redirect contemporary urbanization. The effort is centered in the school’s Joint Program in City Design and Development, a collaboration between the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Architecture, also involving the Center for Real Estate and the Media Lab.

Intended for students of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and related fields, the initiative is focused on landscape intelligence – analyzing the forces that shape the built and natural environment and using that understanding to design strategic solutions to the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time -- including climate change, renewable energy, water conservation, landscape toxicity, deindustrialization, environmental justice, adaptive reuse and the design of cultural landscapes.

This unique line of practice and inquiry makes use of rapidly expanding design and technological tools that enable new readings of landscape systems, and the flows and forces that shape the world, to create projects that are consonant with the deep context of a place, as opposed to superficial cosmetic design. Professionals who use these new tools to understand how natural and cultural systems function in cities, and how they interact with new design and planning interventions, will be the leaders in producing the smart urban landscapes of the future.

With six full-time landscape architects on the faculty -- bringing a broad range of expertise in landscape inquiry, planning and multi-scalar urban design -- the initiative is designed to accommodate a wide range of customized educational paths.

Beginning in September 2009, the faculty will be offering landscape and urbanism subjects through several of the school’s existing graduate degree programs:

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning
(*) the professional Master of City Planning
(*) the mid-career Master of Science in Urban Planning
(*) the Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning

In the Department of Architecture
(*) the professional Master of Architecture
(*) the post-professional Master of Science in Architecture Studies
(*) the Ph.D. in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture