Critical Boston: Challenge and Opportunity in a City Undergoing Rapid Change

This course will examine the rapid changes to the urban fabric of Boston and Cambridge. How are communities addressing rapid growth and gentrification? How effective are the steps being taken to adjust to changing climate? What does development pressure mean for the historic fabric of the city? The class will focus on communities where development is radically changing urban character, among them Alston, the Seaport, and Kendall Square. Students will study the history of these areas and evaluate how new building is reshaping them. Special emphasis will be placed on short and medium-form critical writing.

In-class field trips will take students to explore communities and projects in the area, and will be supplemented by discussions with architects, historians, planners, developers, city officials, and critics.

Each student will complete several short critical assignments and one final project, in a format (written, audio, video) of their choice. They will also lead a tour of the project of their choice.