Creating Resilient Cities: Future Coasts and Spatial Analysis of Cities at Risk

Coastal cities are undergoing environmental changes at a scale and pace that challenges traditional cultures, disciplinary methods, experience, histories and techniques. The same could be said about social change and economic transformation in many of these cities, and their interactions exacerbate the challenges of governance and response in planning and design.

Cities have responded by developing new institutions, planning processes and design approaches aimed at promoting resilience to the impacts of climate change and variability. This course will examine the impacts of environmental change on cities, and explore planning and design approaches that emerged to foster development under these conditions. We will examine the urban risk and resilience paradigm and the integration of hazard risk reduction and climate action planning. We will focus on social equity and vulnerability, the merger of chronic and episodic shocks at the urban scale, the analysis of resilience as a paradigm in planning and the development of professional responses in these areas.

Lectures, class discussion and assignments will focus in three areas:
· The methods and process of contemporary city planning and designs for adapting to environmental change and weather extremes.
· The changing landscape of policies and design for coastal resilience; strategies for conservation of damaged coastal areas and adaptive approaches for coping with increased tidal and storm surge risks concurrent with sea-level rise.
· The use of mapping and spatial analysis in adaptive planning and urban climate research; the use of spatial data and the development of spatial narratives to describe and explain urban vulnerabilities and resilience.

1. Attendance: Students are expected to attend classes and be on time.
2. Readings and participation: There will be assigned readings for each class, and students will take turns discussing selected readings.
3. Assignments: Each student will develop an individual research or design project based in one or more of these areas; make presentations to the class on their research; discuss readings and other students’ research, and prepare a final paper/design project based on their research. Short assignments will lead up to the final project.

Student work will be evaluated based on the final project (which may be planning and/or design), class presentations, discussion of the literature and other student’s research, and the quality of overall participation.

GSD 5342 is a planning and design lecture/workshop that challenges its participants to develop her or his individual course of action. Proposals should lie in the general professional capacity of the participant, and can also venture into new areas of thought by combining unusual themes of investigation that are typically underrepresented in urban development and design. GSD 5342 seeks to challenge its participants to venture onto a path of creative collaborative while still addressing dominant urban issues such as population vulnerability and coastal land use while fostering the long-term build-up of resilience against future disasters. Researchers with expertise in coastal hazard mitigation and land use will provide guest lectures. We are currently investigating appropriate local sites for a site visit and a place-based focus on coastal resilience in the Northeast, as it recovers from the impacts of Sandy.