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20190903 pp power public works logo

Sponsored by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture as a part of their project “Power: Infrastructure in America,” “Public Works for a Green New Deal” assembled a series of courses from across programs at GSAPP during the fall 2019 semester to consider the social, technical, and political contours of the ambitious—but still largely undefined—proposal known as the Green New Deal (GND). “Public Works” is one of several initiatives at the Buell Center related to the GND; for more information visit the POWER project website.

Courses for “Public Works” were adapted to address the GND proposal directly, with all design studio sites being U.S.-based and all briefs responding directly to the text of the Green New Deal resolution. The courses also responded, in various ways, to the call for imagination in Kate Aronoff’s recent article, “With a Green New Deal, Here’s What the World Could Look Like for the Next Generation” (originally written for the Intercept and since republished on the POWER website.

Participating Studios
and Courses



Advanced Architecture Studio V
Climate Design Corps: Reinventing Architecture, Labor, and Environment
Faculty: David Benjamin

This studio is structured as a mini-thesis project; each student designs their own site, program, position, and 11-year impact in terms of both carbon emissions and equality. They explore new modes of practicing architecture. In addition to reimagining the approach to the climate crisis, this studio reimagines the discipline.


Advanced Architecture Studio V
Being-With: Coexistence at a Planetary Scale
Faculty: Phu Hoang

Rethinking public works as multi-species at both architectural/infrastructural and planetary scales, the studio proposes ecological imaginaries in response to the Green New Deal. Speculating on a carbon-free climate future in coastal Louisiana requires students to design at both habitat and planetary scales while avoiding thinking in binary terms of environmental relationships—human vs. animal, society vs. nature, organism vs. environment, even wild vs. domestic.


Advanced Architecture Studio V
Transscalar Towers, The Ultra Clear-Glass Plan
Faculty: Andrés Jaque

This studio interrogates the current obsession for ultra-clear glass (also known as lowiron glass) in contemporary high-end apartment and office buildings in globalizing urban settings, and the way its use is rhetorically presented as a contribution to the process of turning cities into environmentally sensitive floor-to-ceiling architectural schemes.


Advanced Architecture Studio V
Structures of Care
Faculty: Bryony Roberts

This studio addresses the social justice dimensions of the Green New Deal proposal, focusing on the connection between social and environmental sustainability.


Advanced Architecture Studio V
Imaginative Realism: Cli-Fi, the Sublime, and the Public Imaginary
Faculty: Marc Tsurumaki

This studio examines if and how the historical notion of the sublime might provide a lens through which to view our current crisis, examining the ways climate change is imagined, envisioned, and represented in order to understand how alternate narratives might be formulated and advanced.


Urban Design Studio II
The Climate Crisis—Imagining a Green New Deal in the Hudson Valley
Faculty: Kaja Kühl

Working in the Hudson Valley, the studio operates at the regional scale and asks students to enter the discourse of urbanization beyond cities to engage unevenly dispersed socio-spatial ecosystems at multiple scales. Specifically, it explores the region’s rural/urban socio-spatial ecosystems as the site for intervention to address the global climate crisis.


Resilient Urban Design and Urban Planning Practicum: A Green New Deal for Appalachia
Faculty: Kate Orff with Thaddeus Pawlowski

This course explores urban design and planning practice through the lens of resilience. It focuses on emerging approaches and strategies to climate adaptation in the built environment, and integrating ecological imperatives and social justice into next century forms of infrastructure.



Planning and the Green New Deal: A Practicum
Faculty: Ariella Maron, Douglas Woodward

This course engages the proposed Green New Deal (H. Res. 109, the “GND”) from an urban planning perspective, investigating its political bases, technical feasibility, implementation strategy, and planning and land use impacts. The course approach concentrates on the socio-technical aspects of the GND as opposed to strictly technical responses to climate change, to mirror the focus of the proposed legislation itself.

Public Works for a Green New Deal
September 27, 2019

Introduction by Reinhold Martin with course presentations by David Benjamin, Phu Hoang, Andrés Jaque, Kaja Kühl, Ariella Maron and Douglas Woodward, Kate Orff and Thaddeus Pawlowski, Bryony Roberts, and Marc Tsurumaki.

Presentations are followed by a discussion among Daniel Aldana Cohen, Hayley Richardson, and Abby Spinak with moderation by Alyssa Battistoni.