Proseminar in PUBLICS: Of the Public. In the Public. By the Public

Public, as a noun or adjective, is not confined to a single discipline, practice, narrative or theory.  It is instead, a complicated construct that can either dictate the rules and regulations that order our cities, reveal and disclose “fake news” or knowledge about the city , or include or exclude the right to occupy the city. With this in mind, this proseminar seeks to define what constitutes the Public, both spatially and socially – how it becomes legible and desirable, who gets the right to create it and for whom.  Lectures, discussions and debates will interrogate what it means to be public; of the public; in the public; for the public, with the public, or by the public.  Each proposition holds a different implication for design, democracy, processes and populations when overlaid with the compounding issues of our time – economic and social inequality, climate change, population growth and decline, territorial conflicts, health and violence epidemics, aging infrastructures, and eroding trust in democratic governance.  The course will draw from scholars, practitioners and everyday folk to build foundational intelligence and provocative interpretations of social and spatial publics, and their potential to advance the Just City.

The course is a discussion-based seminar where weekly engagement by enrolled students with the instructor and invited guest experts is a requirement.  Each course session will be designed with a combination of synchronous or asynchronous lectures provided by the instructor or topic experts, accompanied by complementary readings or other media content. The objectives for the proseminar course will expose students to the following:
1. General concepts of governance and participation
2. General concepts of societal and political conflicts, crisis, contestations that effect the built and natural environment
3. Forms of practice that engage the multiple and varied forms of publics across GSD disciplines
4. Representational applications
5. Research methodologies

Students will develop position papers, including core values, manifesto and case studies that help define various notions of Public and advance the development of their individual research topics.

Prerequisites: Enrollment in the MDes PUBLICS program.

NOTE: Four (4) class sessions will be conducted remotely via Zoom, and not require an in-person meeting.  Tentative asynchronous dates are as follows: 9/28, 10/26, 11/9, 11/23. Dates for these sessions will be finalized by the first day of class.  Additionally, all guest speakers to the class will participating remotely, using either video conference or Zoom technology.