Contemporary Frameworks of Practice

The purpose of this course is:

  1. To explore the range of contemporary and emergent practices as they relate to landscapes of social, political, economic, cultural and material change;
  2. To develop specific analytic frameworks and tools for critically examining different approaches to and modes of practice, including their respective organization, operations and business models;
  3. to investigate the potentials for cross-fertilization and migration of intellectual capital between the academy and professional practice.

After five years of global financial crisis, architects, landscape architects and urban planners in the major Western economies have managed to adapt – in many instances, quite successfully – to radical and ongoing fiscal, social and political upheavals, revealing a new era of possibilities and constraints for practice. A period of intense reassessment and search for viable responses to the challenges ahead has resulted in renewed focus on rethinking the assumptions, scope and models of practice. New territories and kinds of professional engagement are being defined and tested.

On the other hand, a rediscovery and appreciation for the fundamental purposes, ethical framework, unique competences and motivations that drive the practice of design are manifest in the behavior of clients, who continue to seek out practitioners of the highest caliber to undertake significant commissions.

The return to basics with regard to foundational values and principles of the professions, coupled with the drive for addressing new classes of problems, innovating on the creation and delivery of value to clients and markets, and the conceptualization of new forms of practice constitute a potent agenda for renewal during uncertain times.

Course format: Interactive lectures; workshop with guest faculty; team exercises and discussion.

Requirements: Consistent class attendance and engagement; satisfactory completion of assignments (some of which will be performed in small teams); term project and final presentation.

Prerequisites: None, but prior professional work experience is highly recommended.