Landscape of Contemporary and Anticipatory Practice

The purpose of this course is: 1. to enable students to better understand the landscape of established and emergent practices within a larger social, economic and political context; 2. to equip students with analytic frameworks and methods that will enable them to better navigate career directions and choices; 3. to exercise the ability to envision and critically assess potential trajectories for practice, particularly in light of global instability of capital markets and unevenness in social/cultural/physical development. Prior to the current global monetary crisis, architects, landscape architects and urban planners practicing in the major economies of the world enjoyed an unprecedented abundance of work. The design professions were no different than most other business sectors in becoming complacent about the demand for their services and ever-increasing prospects. So much so that, with some notable exceptions, business and organizational models of even the most renowned design firms became skewed toward production at the expense of critical thinking about the fundamental purpose of their disciplines. The failure to grasp the real significance of our professions\’ purpose, ethics, opportunities, and unique competences became an abrogation of a larger responsibility to critically define and diligently exercise our profession rather than taking the path of least resistance by simply surrendering to the forces of the market. The process of unwinding 20th century models of practice continues, but without much clarity about the future. Students will take on the task of investigating and documenting both existing and emergent frameworks of practice. Participants will develop specific narratives about practice and how they map into social/cultural, political and economic/business landscapes of different cities, regions and countries, as well as global critical infrastructure (including key technologies), and \’long waves\’ of change (e.g., demographics, climate, etc.). We will then use these narratives to critique existing generic models of practice in terms of their disciplinary underpinnings, practice and business strategies, organization and operations. Course format: Lectures, class discussions and case study.Requirements: Consistent class attendance and participation; completion of class assignments; term project and final presentation (individual or small group).Pre-requisites: None, but prior professional work experience is preferred.