GSD Course Bulletin - Spring 2013

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:54:38.

Courses taught by Jose Castillo

01509: The Flexible Leviathan: Reconsidering Scale and Fixity in the Contemporary Metropolis (STU 0150900)

Urban Planning and Design
Option Studio - 8 credits - Limited enrollment
Tuesday Wednesday 2:00 - 6:00  

Diane Davis, Jose Castillo

Course Description

Mexico City is one of the most dynamic and complex metropolitan areas in the world today. With over 20.1 million inhabitants, remarkable urban growth, an active, yet dual economy and a palimpsest of material histories centuries-old, it is quite a case study for architecture and urban planning today. Iztapalapa, in the southeast part of the metropolitan area is the most populated ‘delegación’ (borough) in Mexico City with over 1.8 million inhabitants. It also is one of the poorest, most underserviced, crime-ridden and stigmatized areas in the city. Despite all that, it is a location with a strong cultural voice, an active youth population, and demographic diversity. Within Iztapalapa, the Centro Oriente (East Center) site comprises close to 40 hectares in size and is one of the largest open territories within the urban area of Mexico City. As a terrain surrounded by large-scale infrastructures, formal and informal housing, squatter settlements, complex geological and hydrological issues as well as massive housing estates, Centro Oriente offers a possibility to reimagine urban planning as a tool of socio-spatial transformation.

This studio seeks to produce a vision for Centro Oriente, both in the local context of Iztapalapa and in metropolitan terms, thus theorizing the meaning of sustainable urbanism in large cities while also engaging the real world, local context of urban policy-making through urban planning and design intervention. The course is informed by two driving questions:

·Is it possible to critically reassess the scale of intervention traditionally used to change an area’s profile and relationship to its surrounds? That is, are there forms of intervention other than large-scale/large-site transformation (such as urban renewal, the master plan, or other massive urban projects) that hold the potential for transformative urban change?

·Is it possible to critically reassess the materiality of urban change by pondering both fixed and flexible processes of city-making? That is, are there forms of intervention that presuppose fluid and dynamic rather than fixed uses of space, and that could be prioritized or integrated with more lasting transformations to alter the built environment so as create a new urbanism?

The guiding hypothesis is that by reframing the issues of scale and temporality we can create a different urbanity, one that is better able to address the social, economic, ecological and programmatic imperatives of the contemporary metropolis.

The local government of Iztapalapa is the studio sponsor.

Course Structure and Deliverables:
There is one class trip to Mexico City planned for February 9-16th. Professors Davis and Castillo will guide students through classroom lecturing and other forms of grounded knowledge-production about the politics and financing of urban interventions in Mexico as well as the socio-economic and built environmental history of Iztapalapa and Mexico City. Students will learn about the regimes of planning in the city, as well as the forces facilitating and/or harnessing urban transformation at a variety of scales. Exercises include:

·Mapping Mexico City; Mapping Iztapalapa
·Case studies of innovative urban practices
·Strategies to address poverty, security & urbanity

Students will be evaluated on the basis of two final deliverables:
·A proposed vision for Centro Oriente (document, design, project, plan, etc.)
·A methodology to assess and qualify the relevance of certain processes, strategies and design decisions as they relate to large-scale or fixed transformations vs. targeted or ephemeral transformations.

Courseware site (Canvas)

05211: Cities by Design II (SES 0521100)

Urban Planning and Design
Lecture - 4 credits
Tuesday Thursday 10:00 - 11:30   Gund - Piper

Rahul Mehrotra, Jose Castillo, Jana Cephas, Fares El-Dahdah, Antoine Picon, Peter Rowe

Course Description

The year-long Cities by Design course is mandatory for all incoming Masters of Urban Design Students. All other students are welcome to enroll in the course by semester, and need not do so in sequence.

'Cities by Design' is a year-long course that studies urban form. Each semester, 'Cities by Design' will explore six urban case studies to expose students to a range of factors that affect the design of contemporary cities in various geographical contexts. The case studies will focus on both the urban condition as a whole by exploring processes of urban evolution, and on the study of urban fragments or projects. Each case study will be taught during a two-week module, comprised of four lectures and one discussion section. The Spring Case Studies include: Rio, Mexico City, Paris, Shanghai, Detroit, Mumbai. These are distinct from those presented in prior semesters.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course. The course will allow students to establish a broader definition of the 'urban,' forging commonalities amongst a diversity of cities. It will also provide the historical and comparative material to identify the urban characteristics and design strategies that render particular cities distinct. Comparative analyses of the urban case studies will be guided by the following eight themes, which will be explored through the lectures, section discussions, and assigned readings:
1.     The city's genealogy and key historical events, phases of development & patterns of growth.
2.     The ways in which the terrain, geography, and infrastructural development constrain and present opportunities for the city's development and ambitions.
3.     The city's planning and design culture and decision-making institutions.
4.     The challenges that social equity present to planning and design in the city.
5.     The orchestration of the city's relationship to the broader region.
6.     How the particular city contributes to a definition of the 'urban' condition.
7.     The framing and design of key urban projects/case studies.
8.     The city's planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions, etc. that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context.

Term grades will be based on attendance and participation in both lectures and section discussions, biweekly response papers based on assigned readings, and a final term paper.

Faculty for Spring 2012 to include: Rahul Mehrotra (course coordinator),  with Jana Cephas, Peter Rowe, Antoine Picone, Jose Castillio and Fares el Dahd, Head Teaching Fellow: Christopher Rogacz.

No Prerequisites.

Courseware site (Canvas)

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