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M.S. Architecture and Urban Design

Overview
The Urban Design Program is a three-semester degree in the multidisciplinary study of cities, regions, infrastructures, and ecosystems. The program focuses on the city as an agent of resilient change and on the role of design in redefining the twenty-first century urban landscape, advancing new paradigms of research, practice, and pedagogy to meet the challenges of climate change, rapid urbanization, and social inequality. Students and faculty in the MSAUD program are united in their attempt to integrate and underscore the essential links between public space, social justice, and ecological systems. The program asks the venerable and necessarily shifting question: what is “the good city?”—reframing the city not as a fixed, delimited territory but as a gradient of varied landscapes supported by networks of food, energy, resources, culture, transportation, and capital.
The program encourages students to critically confront planetary urbanization via applied and on-site research that advances the idea of urban design as an inclusive, activist, tools-based project for specific sites and communities and as a critical project examining urban form, knowledge, and research processes. A sign of the program’s success is its strong, catalytic alumni working globally and across disciplines, institutions, and communities to help create robust and equitable places to live.
Curriculum
The Urban Design program’s curriculum balances the need for shared and specialized knowledge with individual student research interests. The core of the program is the three-semester sequence of studios. The Summer Studio I is foundational and addresses the 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. The Fall Studio II expands its 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. 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.
Studios

The studio sequence runs adjacent to a number of required and elective courses that develop skills in spatial analysis, critical thinking, research methods, and visualization techniques—and that enable students to rigorously propose urban change in any number of capacities. Elective courses, encouraged at GSAPP and other schools at the university, address the specific and varied problems, facets, and processes of urbanization—from human rights to agricultural policy to systems of finance. Throughout the interwoven studio-seminars 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 thoughtful practitioner entangled with a diverse set of actors and existing conditions, and crucial to the implementation of imagined futures.

Studio I

The Summer semester consists of four courses that operate intellectually and methodologically as an integrated curriculum focusing on the New York metropolitan region. All work is based on the coordinated learning of concepts, working methods, historical precedents, research protocols, and representational strategies. Faculty and associates overlap, courses and subjects mix, and design agendas are tested in various settings. This teaching model demonstrates how Urban design can weave together varied tasks of storytelling, community engagement, site survey and interpretation, filmmaking, digital visualization, mapping, and 3D modeling, all of which enable students to create urban knowledge and to iterate, represent and communicate design ideas.

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.

In this eleventh episode of GSAPP Conversations, Urban Design Director Kate Orff joins Dean Amale Andraos to discuss what it means to think across scales and connect our human life with the geological time scale, how traveling international studios allow students to better address challenges shared by otherwise very different cities, and teaching the reciprocity of physical design and social context.

Listen to more podcasts from the Urban Design program by following UD Sessions: The Expanded Field of Urban Design, a series of conversations with urban designers around the globe, who graduated from or taught at GSAPP’s Urban Design program. By discussing their current work and reflecting on how their experience at GSAPP shaped their thinking about design, cities, and politics, the series explores the ways in which the field of urban design expanded since its emergence. Hosted by Kaja Kühl and Grahame Shane.

Fall 2019 Urban Design Studio II
A Behind the Scenes Look
Current Faculty

Spring 2021 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6832‑1 Spring 2021
Resilient Landscapes
Kate Orff
REMOTE
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12230
A6851‑1 Spring 2021
Urban Design Studio II
Kaja Kühl, Lee Altman, Anna Dietzsch , Shachi Pandey, Thaddeus Pawlowski
200 FAYERWEATHER + REMOTE
M & TH 1:30 PM - 6:30 PM, W 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
9 Points
12241
A4385‑1 Spring 2021
Arab Modernism(s): Experiments in Housing, 1945-present
Yasser Elsheshtawy
REMOTE
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13275
A4846‑1 Spring 2021
Super-Tall
Nicole Dosso
REMOTE
TH 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12218
A4389‑1 Spring 2021
(Un) Modern: Ex-Centric Latin@/X Spatial Practices
Luis E. Carranza
REMOTE
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14278
A4444‑1 Spring 2021
Façade Detailing: A Material Understanding
Kevin Schorn
REMOTE
TH 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12190
A4688‑1 Spring 2021
Recombinant Urbanism
David Grahame Shane
REMOTE
M 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11843
A4987‑1 Spring 2021
Architectural Photography: From the Models to the Built World
Michael Vahrenwald
REMOTE
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12165
A4988‑1 Spring 2021
Coding for Spatial Practices
Celeste Layne
REMOTE
TU 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13297
A4991‑1 Spring 2021
Topics in Viz Tech: Location Intelligence
Carlo Bailey
REMOTE
TU 6 PM - 8 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13299
A4995‑1 Spring 2021
Power Tools
Lexi Tsien, Jelisa Blumberg
REMOTE
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13301
A6702‑1 Spring 2021
Investigative Techniques
Norman Weiss, Amanda Thomas Trienens
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
W 2 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12464
A6815‑1 Spring 2021
Public Space: Rhetorics and Practices
David Smiley
REMOTE
W 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11957
A6858‑1 Spring 2021
Open Work
Enrique Walker
REMOTE
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12115
A6874‑1 Spring 2021
Architecture’s Empire: A global atlas of modern architecture
Lucia Allais
REMOTE
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13281
A6876‑1 Spring 2021
Materials, Materiality, Materialisms: Technical lessons from the history of architecture, art and media.
Lucia Allais
REMOTE
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13292
A6880‑1 Spring 2021
Towards a Trans-Species Architecture—Rethinking Lina Bo Bardi
Mark Wigley
REMOTE
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13295
A6884‑1 Spring 2021
Media as Method, Program as Politics
Mark Rakatansky
REMOTE
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13296
A6887‑1 Spring 2021
Radical Domesticities
Mary McLeod
REMOTE
M 10 AM - 12 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14272
A6414‑1 Spring 2021
Digital Heritage Documentation
Bilge Kose
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
W 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
12462
A4890‑1 Spring 2021
Conflict Urbanism
Laura Kurgan
REMOTE
W 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11829
A4063‑1 Spring 2021
Points Unknown: Cartographic Narratives
Juan Saldarriaga, Michael Krisch
REMOTE
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11292
A4122‑1 Spring 2021
Mapping For Architecture Urbanism and Humanities
Emily Fuhrman
REMOTE
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11295
A4407‑1 Spring 2021
Methods in Spatial Research
Dare Brawley
REMOTE
F 9 AM - 11 AM
SES A
1.5 Points
11822
A4411‑1 Spring 2021
Climate, Technology, and Society
Reinhold Martin
REMOTE
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13067
A4437‑1 Spring 2021
A Tale of Two Cities: New York and Johannesburg
Ifeoma Ebo
REMOTE
TH 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
13106
A4552‑1 Spring 2021
Dark Space: Architecture Representation & Black Identity
Mario Gooden
REMOTE
TU 11 AM-1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11841
Pla6272‑1 Spring 2021
History of Real Estate Development in New York City
Kate Ascher
HYBRID- WOOD AUDITORIUM
TH 11 AM -1 PM
SES A
1.5 Points
12866
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