Contemporary design practice has a habit of qualifying the word “urbanism” with any number of modifiers: Ecological Urbanism. Landscape Urbanism. Relational Urbanism. Tactical Urbanism. These terms allow us to see a set of design practices and practitioners through a particular critical lens, but the actual design methodologies emerging from various schools of thought are not often quantified. This seminar aims to consider these contemporary urbanist frameworks pragmatically, in order to develop a catalogue of mapping, modeling and design techniques which will be applied to a semester-long research project.
Class sessions will be divided roughly equally between 1) lectures, case study research presentations and discussion and 2) hands-on lab exercises. Through the lab exercises, students will become proficient in elements of relational urban modeling, mapping, and interactivity espoused by various urbanist modalities—both top-down and bottom-up— ranging from ecological mapping at the regional scale to relational urban modeling based on environmental or contextual factors to web-based guerrilla and tactical models. Two weeks will be dedicated to each of four primary modalities: 1) Ecological / Solar, 2) Landscape, 3) Relational / Parametric / Associative and 4) Tactical / Guerrilla / Virtual. For the final six weeks of the semester, students will select one of these four modalities to explore in greater depth. For this project, students will be expected to contribute their own modeling methods and to apply geographic and temporal specificity to understand the adaptability of the methods at hand.