Resurfacing (Revisiting) the Grid as an Organizational Device for the Design of the City

Framework:This upper level research seminar will focus on the investigation and evaluation of urbanistic projects which use the grid and its multiple variations as their main organizational and structural device. The ultimate objective of the course is to spawn new understanding of the organizational possibilities that emerge from grid / regular systems in city design. Furthermore, the course aims at capitalizing on the potential transformations of laced structures into inventive urban assembly models. 1.The historic evolution of the city can be tied to regularized systems that have allowed for rational forms of development. Diverse cultures have provided varied interpretations of grid systems that serve as an active underlay for multiple urban domains; street network, private parcels, public spaces, diversity of grain, etc. 2.In the last 25 years, urban interventions have reached an unprecedented level of complexity and ambition, increasing the complexity level of design operations, yet the value and metrics of the grid are more operative than ever, and in more inventive ways than in the past. 3.New spatial demands require more flexible and open ended systems that can accommodate urban growth of diverse speeds. These new forms of urbanism favor loose yet efficient organizational systems that can accommodate diversity and change throughout extensive city densification and expansion. Research Topics and Phases:The research seminar will specifically focus on the following topics:A. topic definition and conceptual framework: grid / block / mesh / matrix etcB. research on seminal cities which use the grid as its underlying structure; some of these examples are Edinburg, Berlin, Savannah, Chicago, etc C. research on seminal projects (city fragments) that have used the grid in order to introduce inventive organizational devices at the scale of the material fragmentD. research on recent urbanistic projects that have engaged the gridE. Comparative studies between the various investigations in order to establish both individual research tracts and a collective agenda that will hint towards a diversity of models that could generate well tempered urban systems; configurations that can effectively operate at multiple scales and engage diverse urban scenarios Even though a few introductory readings will be handed out at the beginning of the course, the seminar will explore the topics primarily through the construction of analytical and operative drawings. The seminar is open to all students in GSD. Yet please note that a high level of graphic skills is required.The seminar will meet regularly both as a group and in individual meetings with the instructors. Students will work individually and in groups of 2