Retooling Metropolis: Working Landscapes, Emergent Urbanism

What is the status of the 20th-century metropolis? How do we rethink it (and retool it) in an era of significant climate change, considerable social and economic inequities, and cultural dissonance? And what of this in a disciplinary age when conversations on urbanism are likely to be better informed by ideas of indeterminacy, dynamism, operational ecologies and landscape, and emergence over time?

These questions are at the center of this research and studio work, both of which examine possibilities for cultivating new landscape occupations and new forms of nascent urbanism in an area of Houston along the eastern stretch of the Buffalo Bayou. This is an area marked by large-scale abandonment, some active heavy industry, remnant poor neighborhoods, industrial ruins, denuded ecologies, contaminated lands, and a radically transformed hydrologic system. How does one act here, when contemporary environmental and social circumstances call for a shift in thinking and a need for change, yet where there is no obvious economic or political driver to initiate or sponsor transformation on the ground?

Retooling Metropolis: Working Landscapes, Emergent Urbanism is a Studio Report from the Fall 2016 semester at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Published by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Fall 2017.

Instructed by Chris Reed
Series design by Zak Jensen & Laura Grey
112 pages, softcover, 17 x 24.5 cm
ISBN 978-1-934510-63-6

Available for purchase from the Frances Loeb Library.