Thinking Landscape – Making Cities

Deploying a landscape and ecology framework for resilient citymaking

This design seminar aims to build citymaking skills for landscape architects.

To imagine and strategize new urban patterns and forms, students will choose a city representing a particular climate zone. After framing the historical-spatial and biogeophysical attributes of their city, students will create concepts and strategies for guiding future development and deploy these through different geographical and temporal scales to imagine new kinds of living and built landscapes.

The concepts and strategies developed will be measured in site plans, heretofore an undervalued and under-conceptualized design tool. These will be developed at scales spanning from the region to the city and from the district to the neighborhood—each accompanied by critical sections and views. We will begin at the scale of the urban quarter, zoom out to the region and finally return to the neighborhood. The goal is to demonstrate that a landscape-ecology framed urban plan is able to engage uncertainty, adapt to climate change and support social justice. 

Each week we will discuss a reading and a precedent project and consider these with respect to the selected cities. From the four site plans produced for the final review, students will select one to develop in detail. Besides our weekly meetings devoted to discussion and critical reviews, there will be regular individual meetings with the instructor offered at hours convenient for international students. 

At the semester’s end, students will be able to identify the salient elements of landscape and urban design at regional, city, district and neighborhood scales. Students will track how a concept changes through scales and will be able to articulate the design potential at each stage. Priority will be given to MLA students. Evaluation will be based on weekly assignments and participation in class sessions (35%), and the three presentations (65%). 

Course structure

10.00-11:00 (60 min) – Weekly inclusive for all.
11.00-12:00  (60 min) – Weekly inclusive (international students in Asia optional)
Individual meetings for international students will be scheduled as necessary. 


Note: the instructor will offer live course presentations on 01/19-01/21. To access the detailed schedule and Zoom links, please visit the Live Course Presentations Website. If you need assistance, please contact Estefanía Ibáñez.