The Harvard Design School Project on the City began as a response to a pervasive condition of architectural practice, in which the architect is asked to intervene in, but never to appreciate or understand, a given situation. An architect's interests are ultimately determined by a series of random encounters with projects and clients that do not allow an independent investigation of issues or conditions outside their field of vision. Thus architects operate, be definition, with ulterior motives; the capacity for independent analysis, research or investigation is simply not within their repertoire. It is becoming increasingly important for architects to operate on a level independent of architecture, in order to understand, at the most basic level, the phenomena affecting the development of architecture and the city. The Project on the City is an investigation of a series of issues related to the urban condition. These issues have been chosen to reflect certain pertinent, unusual, or unknown conditions of the urban mutations taking place at this moment in the world. The project has no connection with design: it is a pure research project, conducted by thesis students who explore a specific subject each year.