M.S. Architecture and Urban Design

Overview
The Urban Design Program is focused on the city as an agent of resilient change and on the role of design in redefining the 21st century urban landscape. The program advances new paradigms of research, practice and pedagogy to meet the urgent challenges of rapid urbanization, the increasing threats of climate change and social inequality. Students and faculty in the Program aim to integrate the essential links between public space, social justice and ecological systems. We ask the venerable and necessarily shifting question: what is “the good city?”

Global shifts in the climate system require resetting the paradigms that have guided urban growth for centuries. The Program frames the city not as a fixed, delineated territory—a modernist fixation on boundaries—but instead as a gradient of varied landscapes supported by networks of food, energy, resources, culture, transportation and capital. In this light, the historical terms urban, rural or suburban are no longer sufficient to address the “wicked problem” of climate change. Program work stresses near and long term threats to local, regional and global ecosystems, framing urban design as both an inclusive, activist, tools-based project for specific sites and communities and as a critical project examining urban form, knowledge and research processes.

Students and faculty work together over a series of three intensive semesters to weave a multi-scalar analysis of urban-regional fabrics and infrastructures with on-the ground, detailed studies of places and lived conditions. New York City serves as a primary initial case study for a design methodology; the scope expands in the second semester to regional research about New York and other American city-regions and concludes in the final semester with investigations in emerging global capitals and agglomerations in Asia, Africa, and South America.

Curriculum

The curriculum exploits the pedagogic potential of the design studio as a site of research, visionary speculation and critical inquiry. The Urban Design curriculum broadly integrates a range of interdisciplinary expertise, internal to Columbia University—such as the School of Public Health, the Earth Institute, and the School of Engineering—and external to the school, through regular engagement with governmental and non-governmental agencies, institutions and organizations.

Across the three semesters of the program, work ranges from site formation and policy, to visualization, and documentation of lived spatial and social conditions. Research, assignments and deliverables seek forms of mediation and action to address the challenges of global and local change. The sequencing of three studios builds a shared understanding of urban theories and terms, design tools, and research methods essential to urban design thought and practice. The collaborative studio setting enables a synthetic approach to design that weaves together environment, systems, and planning.

Studios

Throughout the studio sequence, projects emphasize a multi-scalar approach to site and program, embracing local, regional, and global scales and advancing the role of the urban designer as a catalytic and thoughtful practitioner who can place herself among diverse actors, existing conditions, and imagined futures.

Studio 1

The Summer Studio I is foundational, addressing experimental, representational and constructive aspects of urban design as a process. The studio frames the Five Boroughs of New York City as a learning lab, examining biophysical infrastructures, conflicting public and private interests, and ongoing socio-spatial change.

Studio II

The Fall Studio II expands in scope to consider the city-region, examining large scale interdependencies and interactions. Studio research addresses the particular conditions of American city-regions (currently, the Hudson Valley) in which shifting ecological, topographical, infrastructural, demographic and social conditions call for new strategies for systemic action.

Studio III

The final Spring Studio III takes on problems of global urbanization, extending previous work on variously-scaled physical and social infrastructures, programmatic interventions and community partnerships. The studio typically travels to two cities, working in close cooperation with local partners and organizations.

Current Faculty

Fall 2016 courses

Course Semester Title Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4122‑1 Fall 2016
MAPPING FOR ARCHITECTURE URBANISM AND HUMANITIES
Juan Saldarriaga ALL GSAPP_ INTERDISCP, GSAS (MARCH- Visual Studies )
412 AVERY
F 11 AM -1 PM
FULL SEMSTER
3 Points
27247
A4840 Fall 2016
RIGHTS OF MONUMENTS
David Gissen ELECTIVE
655 SCHERMERHORN
9/23 9 AM - 5 PM 9/26 9 AM -11 AM 9/27 6:30 PM - 8 :30 PM 9/28 9 AM -11 AM 9/29 7 PM - 9 PM 9/30 9 AM - 6 PM
SEPT 23-30
1.5 Points
73697
A4844 Fall 2016
URBAN PRESERVATION
Erik Langdalen ELECTIVE
655 SCHERMERHORN
10/17 9 AM - 11 AM 10/18/2016 6:30-8:30 10/19 9 AM- 11 AM 10/21 9 AM - 5 PM
OCT 17-21
1.5 Points
20905
A6792‑1 Fall 2016
Preserving Modern Architecture
Theodore Prudon ELECTIVE
412 AVERY HALL
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3.0 Points
88947
A6832‑1 Fall 2016
URBAN SEMINAR II NEW PARADIGMS / NEW PRACTICES
Kate Orff SEM, UD
115 AVERY HALL
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
78529
A6837‑1 Fall 2016
URBAN SEMINAR III FABRICS AND TYPOLOGIES: NY /GLOBAL
Richard Plunz SEM, UD, HIST-URBAN
409 AVERY HALL
W 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
75504
A6847‑1 Fall 2016
URBAN DESIGN SEM I: CASE STUDIES IN WATERFRONT PLANNING AND DESIGN: CONSTRUCTING COLLABORATIVE UNDERSTANDINGS
Andrea Kahn SEM, UD, ALL GSAPP_ INTERDISCP,
300 BUELL SOUTH
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
97947
A6850‑1 Fall 2016
URBAN DESIGN STUDIO II
Michael Murphy, Lee Altman, Chris Kroner, James Carse, Sandro Marpillero, Justin Moore STUDIO, UD
600 STUDIO
M & TH 1:30 - 6:30 F 1:30- 3:30
FULL SEMESTER
9 Points
61649