The Project and the Territory: Japan Story

What is the future of urbanization?
What role can design play in shaping that future? 
What will happen to the conflicting tensions between urban and rural?
How might technology transform our experience of the physical and social worlds?

This seminar will use the concept of the project, as idea and implementation, to consider contemporary urbanization both reflectively and prospectively. Using an analysis of the development of Japanese cities and regions, and their encounters with disruption and continuity, WWII, Olympics, bubble economy, Kobe earthquake, etc. we aim to question and reimagine the future relations between the physical and social worlds. 

The hybrid and multi-representational method of the seminar will include discussions of architecture, urban design, technology, theory and practice, infrastructure and nature, institutions and memory, as well as the ecologies of literary and visual culture. Though the focus of the seminar will be on Japan, ideas and examples will be considered in the light of parallel developments in other parts of the world. 

The course will include lectures, guest speakers from near and far, and class discussions based on readings, films, photography, and other visual materials. Access to these materials will be provided online for students to consult at their own pace. Over the course of the semester, students will be tasked with investigating an issue of their choice, culminating in a speculative project. 

Note: the instructor will offer online live course presentations on 08/26, and/or 08/27. To access the detailed schedule and Zoom links, please visit the Live Course Presentations Website.

Please note this course will meet online through 9/15. This course will offer two hours of in-person instruction on Tuesdays from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Additional asynchronous materials will be made available each week. Please note that there will be some sessions in the evenings for conversations with Japanese contributors. More details will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

The first class meeting