GSD Course Bulletin - Spring 2014

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:55:41.

Courses taught by Jose Castillo

01504: Retrofitting the (post?) Industrial Metropolis: Housing and Economic Growth in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area and the Bajío Region (STU 0150400)

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

Diane Davis, Jose Castillo

Course Description

Mexico’s national authorities are rethinking their housing policy frameworks, so as to connect questions of housing supply and affordability to location as well as to the larger goals of densification, job creation, and economic growth. This studio asks questions about what can and should be done to densify or retrofit urban areas; it evaluates the potential role that new versus existent housing stock (or related infrastructures) can play in this process; and it addresses these concerns in the context of two very different urban contexts, one which is de-industrializing and the other which is re-industrializing - thus framing the studio’s concern with urban planning and design interventions in the context of larger regional, national, and global economic trends affecting cities in Mexico and elsewhere.

Course Site:
The studio will focus on two sites: the municipality of Tlalnepantla in the Mexico City Metro Area and the city of Celaya, Guanajuato.

Tlalnepantla was a prime site for concentrated industrial development from 1950 to 1980, but now faces a potentially different future beyond industry. Massive public transportation projects give this area a strong potential for densification. Although currently Tlalnepantla has a population of 665,000 inhabitants, it sits in a strategic location in an expanding metropolitan area with more than 16 million inhabitations, and contains a significant number of large post-industrial sites awaiting new uses. Celaya, a city of 468,000 territorially situated in a system of cities that include Celaya, Irapuato, Silao & León, has become an agro-industrial powerhouse as well as the site for several large-scale global investments related to the auto industry, logistics and technology. Plans for a regional passenger train that would connect the corridor from Celaya to León have been in discussion for some years.

By working in these two locations, the studio will inquire into the complexities of intertwining housing policies with state and local agendas as well as larger scale dynamics of investment, industrial development, and job creation.

Course Sponsor and Professional Engagement:
Mexico’s National Housing Agency (INFONAVIT) is the studio sponsor.

Course Structure:
There is one class trip to Mexico City in the last week of February. Students will learn about the politics and financing of urban interventions in Mexico as well as the socio-economic and built environmental history of Mexico City & the Bajio Region. Special attention is paid to the regimes of planning that impact housing supply, infrastructure investment, and densification potential as well as the forces facilitating and/or constraining densification and housing supply at a variety of scales and territories.

Exercises include:
· Documenting current housing stock and densification patterns
· Inquiries into the relationship between job and housing production
· Assessment of the strategies of industrialization and de-industrialization vis-a-vis the production of housing
· An inquiry into the relationships between large scale transportation projects, housing, and jobs
· Mapping multiple stakeholders (public and private) at a variety of scales
· Identifying innovative urban practices (in Mexico and elsewhere) of relevance

Students will be evaluated on the basis of two final deliverables:
· A proposed plan or vision (document, design, project, etc.) for the sites under question
· A methodology to formulate and assess strategies for the future implementation of this plan

Schedule: The studio will meet weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Jose Castillo will be in the studio 1/23, 1/24, 1/28, 1/29, 2/11, 2/12, 3/4, 3/5, 3/11, 3/12, 4/1, 4/2, 4/15, 4/16, and will arrange additional meetings when he’s in Cambridge.

GSD iCommons Website

05211: Cities by Design II (SES 0521100)

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

Rahul Mehrotra, Eve Blau, Ricky Burdett, Jose Castillo, Jana Cephas, Peter Rowe, Christine Smith, Erkin Ozay

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 studies urban form. Each semester, 'Cities by Design' will examine six cities as case studies in order 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 and projects. Each case study will be comprised of three or four lectures and one discussion section. The Spring Case Studies consists of Berlin, London, Mexico City, Rome, Detroit, and Mumbai.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course: (1) to engage students in a comparative study of cities that will broaden their definition of the ‘urban’, and (2) to build the historical framework within which they will 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, and a final term paper.

Faculty for Spring 2014 to include: Rahul Mehrotra and Erkin Ozay (course coordinators), with Eve Blau, Ricky Burdett, Jose Castillio, Jana Cephas, Peter Rowe, and Christine Smith.

Teaching Fellows: Ozlem Altinkaya and Olga Touloumi

No Prerequisites.

GSD iCommons Website

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