4.163J / 11.332J
Urban Design Studio — California Dreamin'

Prerequisites: 
4.145, 4.162 or permission of instructor
Required of: 
SMArchS (design)

Los Angeles has long captured the imaginations of designers and urbanists for its characteristic embodiment of the twentieth century metropolis. The city’s vast polycentric agglomerations of diverse communities, single-purpose transportation and utility infrastructure—framed against a backdrop of ocean, mountain, and desert landscapes—have inspired an impressive lineage of techno-futurist identities and visionary design engagement. In the near future, with the proliferation of emergent technologies such as ‘level five’ autonomous mobility systems and ‘smart’ connected streets and infrastructure, the city and its surrounding metropolitan fabrics will continue to offer a quintessential testing ground for new urbanistic visions.

Banham, Varnelis, Davis and many others write of LA as a city whose assessment cannot begin—or end—with buildings, but rather with the distributed infrastructures, dynamic ecologies, social tensions, and cultural attitudes at its core. This studio asks: What is the future of the twentieth century metropolis as embodied by Los Angeles? How can comprehensive technological transitions and atomization at multiple scales—when met with growing environmental risks and depletion— lead to new forms of equitable urbanity? What, if any, are the roles of landscape, architecture, and policy in shaping the footprints of new infrastructures, mobility systems, and neighborhoods?

The studio will travel to the Los Angeles region for site visits, and studio travel will be paid for by the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism’s joint UD studio fund. Travel will occur early in the fall 2018 semester.

Studio admittance will be determined in early fall semester. All DUSP students must submit design portfolio 6-10 pages (max). Admission will be given on a competitive basis.