Design + Territory Qualitative Tools for a New Phase of Infrastructure-led Urbanization – CANCELED

Instructors: Juan Cristaldo (MAUD \’13) Director of Research, Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Paraguay; Oscar Malaspina (MAUD \’13) Adjunct Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru; Daia Stutz (MLAUD ’13) Research Assistant, ETH, Zurich; James Whitten (MAUD \’13) Architect and Urban Designer, Melbourne.
Max. Enrollment: 15

Date/Time: Jan 4-8 / 9am – 5pm

Location: TBD


Despite the influence that so-called ‘megaprojects’ exert upon all dimensions of urban life, spatial planners and designers are typically excluded from their early development phases. As a result, large projects are more-or-less blind to their authorship over the physical and social fabric cities and regions, which bears significant long-term consequences for sustainable development of the territory. How might we intervene to re-scale large projects by introducing more localized needs and concerns during their preliminary planning phases?

This course unpacks the complexity of large-scale infrastructure to carve out space for intervention through applied research, advocacy, and practice. Through a case study approach, participants will ‘reverse engineer’ the temporal, sociospatial, and political dimensions of four large projects – one each in Australia, Paraguay, Switzerland and Peru – while developing their own case study on another project of their choosing. Participants will explore the various dimensions of that project through collaborative workshops, seminars, and presentations.

The socioeconomic and political tensions generated by large infrastructures provide a powerful lens for studying how urbanization processes unfold within specific geographic settings. The following tools, developed by the 5th Thesis Research Initiative, reveal alternative perspectives and historical evidence that are important to debates about large infrastructure but are seldom considered by stakeholders and the public during preliminary planning phases.

Scales of Time: Time narratives, time footprints, and temporalities of place
Spatial Differentiation: Tracing patterns of ‘uneven development’
Suggested Patterns of Urbanization: Anticipating the by-products of large infrastructure projects
Negotiated Visions: Mapping the socially constructed territory

This course is for Architects, Landscape Architects, Planners, Urban Designers and Urban Researchers seeking to transgress boundaries imposed by extant disciplinary frameworks. It will be particularly beneficial for students engaged in research that focus on one or more large projects, or on a territory undergoing change that is attributable to large infrastructure. Ecologists, Civil and Environmental Engineers, Social Scientists, and Urban Policy Makers, among other disciplines, will also find the scope and trans-disciplinary approach of the course engaging.

The attached syllabus outlines the focus, goals, format and requirements of the course. Please note: GSD participants will undertake one-week of activities outlined in the syllabus (the course will run as a two-week workshop at RMIT in February). Please contact James ([email protected]) for additional information.

Link to syllabus can be found here
1. Install Esri ArcMap, QGIS or equivalent geospatial mapping software on a laptop computer (basic knowledge of GIS software is beneficial but not required).
2. Undertake preliminary research into your nominate project. In addition to the resources already provided, bring at least three additional resources to share with other participants during your five-minute presentation on Day One.