Research Methods in Urbanism

This seminar traces a range of approaches to urban research across the disciplines represented at the GSD. It surveys the complex, and often contradictory ideological and methodological assumptions attendant to various forms of scholarly and disciplinary research. From historical and archival research on urbanism to more topical and action-oriented investigations, the seminar exposes students to divergent paradigms of urban research. These paradigms include the projective tendencies of the design disciplines, the empirical impulse drawn from urban geography, the narrative tradition of urban writing, the synthetic nature of interdisciplinary research collaborations, and many others.

The seminar invites all incoming MDesS students in the Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology (ULE) concentration area to identify a disciplinary basis and body of knowledge from which to articulate their own methodological agenda for research. Each participant in the course is expected to complete readings, participate in discussions, and complete a fully considered research proposal, with particular attention given to what the participant seeks to focus on during the course of their degree completion, and the trajectory it will set them on for subsequent career pursuits. This semester-long, multi-layered investigation will involve the production of verbal, visual, and textual components