Rebuilding Devastated Landscapes: Sustainable Landscape Development in the 21st Century

This applied lecture and workshop course focuses on the repair and reconstruction of derelict urban and suburban land within the realities of current conditions, regulations, and design practices. Emphasis will be placed on ecological principles and strategies for establishing and maintaining sustainable plant communities on devastated landscapes. The course will also examine the challenges and opportunities of post-industrial land, as well as on the regulatory, public health, and technological aspects of the remediation process. Seminar presentations and class discussions with the instructor and invited guests will focus on the interdependence between science, technology and design in addressing the issue of degraded landscapes. The lecture/discussion portion of the course will be supported by field trips to disturbed landscapes in the surrounding Greater Boston Area, including: the capped landfill on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, a remediated superfund site on the campus of Wellesley College, and the former Boston State Hospital site in Mattapan (Boston). Local experts and/or officials will accompany the class on these trips. The seminar is intended to act as a broad introduction and overview to the subject of the adaptive reuse of post-industrial landscapes. It will also act as a bridge for students between earlier basic core courses in planning, design and environmental studies and more advanced individual research topics, including independent study, thesis preparation and option design studios. PREREQUISITES: Enrollment is open to all students in graduate standing as well as undergraduates from Harvard College. A similar class taught by the instructor last year included landscape architects, architects, urban planners, urban designers, environmental scientists, and public policy majors. Enrollment came from students from the Harvard Design School, MIT, Harvard College, and students undertaking advanced programs such as MDes, DDes and the Loeb Fellowship Program. The instructor welcomes interest in this seminar from students with a wide range of academic and/or professional backgrounds. There is an enrollment limit of 25 for this class.