First Semester Core Urban Planning Studio

The first semester core studio of the Master in Urban Planning program introduces students to the fundamental knowledge and technical skills used by urban planners to create research, analyze, and implement plans and projects for the built environment. The studio operates in conjunction with VIS 2129: Spatial Analysis and Representation, which introduces students to the theoretical underpinnings and spatial analysis of representational techniques to speculate upon and communicate urban planning concepts.

The studio will use the City of Boston as the students’ planning laboratory and students will be expected to understand the city through the lenses of planning elements such as demographics, economic attributes, market forces, character and built form, and public and private stakeholder interests, all of which shape the city and inform decisions about land use, development, and infrastructure.

The studio is organized into four parts, representing fundamental stages of the urban planning process.

Exercise 1. Ideas for Planning: Reading Influential Urban Plans
This exercise considers a set of “classic” and influential urban plans as a way to engage and critique the fundamental ideas that inform contemporary planning.

Exercise2. Observe, Collect, Compile, Listen and Convey
Using Boston neighborhoods, this Exercise introduces research skills used by urban planners to understand and analyze the built environment. Reporting investigations for public audiences. Generating graphic and written materials.

Exercise 3. Make Plans
Based on skills learned in the previous exercises, students conduct research to better understand planning issues in the Roxbury neighborhood. Students will analyze existing housing, economic, transportation and land use policies and initiatives in the City of Boston that impact the Dudley Square neighborhood. Students will create an individual plan. Students will be exposed to lectures and workshops that support the effort. This section will provide the students with an opportunity to consider different aspects of a plan in more detail.

Exercise 4. Communication + Representation
In this Final Exercise, students will present their findings regarding the Dudley Square neighborhood based on knowledge obtained during the semester’s work.