Proseminar in Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology

The Master of Design Studies Urbanism-Landscape-Ecology [U-L-E] proseminar introduces students to the range of individual and group research presently pursued by GSD faculty across the pedagogic and disciplinary agendas of the school. Each week, there is a discussion of readings about the challenges facing city making and finally, students will make three presentations: an abstract, a mid-term and then a final.

The proseminar relies on student engagement, class discussion and presentations. The essence of the seminar is the creation of critical research questions that will drive your future work. These will emerge from literature, precedent, the rich context of the GSD, and a penetrating sense of current and future challenges to human settlement.

The U-L-E area is a synthesis of three fields, which in their own right are complex and engage uncertainty. Part of this complexity is based on current and historical practices that have engendered social, cultural and economic inequality. Understanding this context can drive research questions that can lead to a more just and resilient 21st century city. Thus our work will cut across the specificity and synthesis of the three disciplines to engage social equity + values, technology + traditional knowledge, governance + ecologies of commerce, and radical imagination + pragmatic visioning. 

The seminar advances design research as an emerging and innovative form of knowledge production to inspire new practices of making cities and to initiate diverse forms of theoretical and empirical scholarship. After defining design and design research as contrasting and complimentary ways of thinking, course discussion will investigate various modes of research on urbanism and urbanization, the expanding field of landscape architecture, and ecology as a science but also as a metaphor. The thesis abstracts will measure a range of discursive and disciplinary models for the production of knowledge on cities. 
Seminar participants will gain insight into the discourse surrounding a diverse array of disciplinary questions, and insight into their methodological implications. Upon completion of the seminar, U-L-E students will have articulated a specific research question to pursue in the coming semesters with a faculty advisor.