GSD Course Bulletin - Spring 2014

05405: Global Leadership in Real Estate and Design (SES 0540500)

Urban Planning and Design
Lecture - 4 credits
Monday 1:30 - 4:30   Gund 505

Course Tools for this course (Canvas)

Bing Wang, Eugene Kohn

Course Description

The online lottery for limited-enrollment courses includes a lottery for 12 students to participate in the Haizhu Lake Ecological Village, Guangzhou, China site of 5405. Students interested in the Downtown Boston Waterfront site do not need to select the course in the lottery and may enroll through the standard add/drop process in GROPIUS on Monday, January 27 at 10 a.m.

In today’s constellation of increasingly connected urban centers, shifts in cultural preferences, design thinking, and spatial significations often reflect and parallel transitions in capital forces and economic realities, locally and across the globe. This course begins with the premise that globalization imposes forces and tensions that directly impact the formation and production of the urban built environment, and that future real estate and design professionals will have a competitive advantage if they are well-prepared to understand, navigate, and indeed lead amidst the vicissitudes of cultural and economic disequilibrium and disruptions of the global realm.

For these challenges, this project-based course encourages a forward-looking examination of and exposure to complexity in today’s real estate design, development and investment process, through students’ hand-on experience, creative propositions, risk-taking judgment training, and the exercise of leadership in real estate and design projects in the real world. The course integrates domestic and international field studies, lectures, and class discussion, and encourages students to rethink, anticipate, and reinvent practice paradigms in both real estate and design fields that respond to exigent and projected transformative environmental, market, economic and cultural changes, while fully leveraging highly-interactive, semester-long engagement with accomplished real estate and/or design leaders.

The pedagogical focuses of this course are two-folds: to provide practice opportunities in an academic setting for students to sharpen their professional skills required to traverse global contexts as culturally sensitive and professionally savvy practitioners, and, to establish an intellectual framework for students to understand and embrace the interrelationship between real estate and design so that creativity and design thinking become value-adding and differentiating component in real estate thought leadership and development.

The interrelationship between real estate, design, and their underlying production process are explored thus through thematic analysis of rational economic activities, real estate market performance, ownership structures, private and public joint venture, as well as the efficacy of public financing.

The course is structured in two parts, each of which contain two sessions. Part I includes Session I of lecture format focusing on “Leadership at the Global Realm”, which is three-weeks long, followed by Session II that includes field trips to a leading urban center site, either domestic or international. Part II includes two sessions - “Complex Real Estate Development and Investment Process” and “Design Thinking as a Real Estate Approach,” each of which are four weeks in length with active interaction with prominent leaders of industry in either real estate investment, development or design.

Projects Description
Each year, the Global Leadership in Real Estate and Design course focuses on two development/investment sites — one domestic and the other international. For the Spring semester in 2014, the two development/investment sites will be on the downtown Boston waterfront and in a scenic area surrounding Haizhu Lake in Guangzhou, China.

Downtown Boston Waterfront
Sandwiched between the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Boston Harbor, this year’s domestic project is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and redefine the relationship between downtown Boston and Boston Harbor. The project is the redevelopment of the Boston Harbor Garage—a monolithic 7 story structure of 459,000 square feet, built during the era when the waterfront was something to be avoided rather than celebrated. Acquired by the developer in 2007 for $153 million, the property currently has a net profit of $8.5 million annually. Led by the professors and with constant interaction and communications with the developer, architects, brokerage firms and other real estate professionals, students will address questions such as: Is it in the best interest of the city and the public to redevelop this site? If so, how it should be redeveloped? What vision can successfully integrate the interests of the city, the public, the developer, and investors?

Haizhu Lake Ecological Village, Guangzhou, China
Haizhu Lake Ecological Village is located on 21.48 hectares (53 acres) of land in the city of Guangzhou, China. Known historically as Canton, Guangzhou city is located on the Pearl River Delta, 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong. It is the third largest Chinese city and the largest city in southern China. Our site is adjacent to Haizhu Lake with lush landscape in the surrounding area. The development/investment program is mixed-use including a cultural destination, a public park, a high-end tourist resort, a retail village, and a 60-room hotel. Sponsored by the developer, and working under the guidance of the professors, students will act as professional consultants to provide vision and solutions for investing in and developing the site to help establish Guangzhou as the world class city in competition with Hong Kong and Shanghai. Students will learn how to balance conservation and development, as well as nature and the built environment, while creating proposals that simultaneously generate design and investment value.