GSD Course Bulletin - Fall 2010 - SES-05333-00
05333: Sustainable New Cities (SES 0533300)
Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
Thursday 10:00 - 1:00 Gund Hall
Spiro Pollalis, Andreas Georgoulias
This course will examine the new city project from the lens of design, business, and sustainability. Based on examples of the recent past and drawing upon substantial original material from very recent new city projects worldwide, students will be exposed in analytical tools and approaches that exist only at this scale. Design will be viewed both at the individual building level, as iconic, non-iconic, and a typology for repetition, and also at the planning, urban design, and infrastructure levels. Business analytics and planning will start from defining the value proposition of the new city project, to issues of forecasting demand and complex return modeling.
The sustainability perspective will be the centerpiece of the course, the axis that all reports, tools, and methods will be compared to. Sustainability at the new city project will be twofold: one side would examine the environmental, social, and economic aspects of the new city project; the other side would examine the sustainability of the actual project team, making sure that the organization doesn't fail before it starts. Information technology will push the feasibility frontier, will be the enabler for efficiency and effectiveness.
The course will be structured in two parts. The first one will start by reviewing the need for new cities, both as a response to rapid urbanization at the developing world, and as an urge to renew the existing urban model. As such, the first part of the course will be both projective and speculative in nature, and it will be covered with lectures and discussions. The class will enter the new city project through several case studies on real projects. Examples from the US and internationally will be reviewed, and guest speakers representing firms involved in the projects will supplement the perspectives discussed in the classroom.
The second part of the course will simulate a new city project in the Middle East, where students will be provided substantial proprietary and unpublished material on a real new city project. At the scale of tens of billions total capital cost, the identity of the project will have to be disguised for reasons of confidentiality. However all planning, design, and business consulting reports and financial spreadsheets will be made available. Students will work in small teams, their purpose being to review the material created by the actual project organization, and propose solutions on how to make the new city project sustainable.
The course will review design and business decisions at multiple scales. Building projects can be small, medium, and large - however, the real immensity of scale in regards to design powers comes with the new city project. A new city will always be the maximum of the human experiment when it comes to the built space. A new city project is beyond extra-large, and as such its fascinating, promising, hopeful, and very expensive. Mistakes on such a scale can rarely be undone.
Plagued by several failed or underperforming examples, new city projects strive to prove that the urbanization process, which normally takes decades, can be simulated, planned, designed, and delivered by a single owner and a design team. Single ownership of a project, as elusive as it can be to conceive at the city scale, provides several benefits of integration and optimization of buildings, systems, nature, and social groups. Large-scale innovation scrapping century-old assumptions, together with replication of the most successful urban environments that exist globally, are all possible at the new city project.
The extent and variety of successful outcomes at the new city project attract agents and stakeholders that normally would not be involved, sometimes not even interested, in built projects. Seeing a case in point for "economies of scale", multinational corporations in manufacturing, commodities, energy, IT, finance, etc join forces with architects and plann
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