Urban Design Proseminar

The proseminar is a forum for conversation on contemporary urban design. It is structured around three overlapping discussions: urban design as form, operation, and urbanism. Theory and practice are contextualized in a way that is not limited to the study of the physical city but includes operations made on the city as well as topics in related fields. Often seen as an extension of architecture, urban design is today faced with the necessity for a greater awareness of the relationship with a host of other subjects such as geography, sociology, history, philosophy, economics, technology, and the arts. Although all the mechanisms for considering the city cannot be covered within the constraints of the seminar, the focus will be on developing a critical perspective that comes from a deeper understanding of theory, practice and speculation. In addition to critiquing seminal texts, the proseminar will introduce specific cities, projects, proposals, and methodologies. Presentations by GSD and Harvard faculty, together with site visits, will contextualize urban design today and its range of opportunities and potential. The proseminar requires active engagement with discussions and assignments, and provides a foundation for further course and studio work at the GSD.