Cities In Sea | Urban Design Studio

Cities by Sea
Urban Design Studio
Rafi Segal, Alan Berger, Jonah Susskind
Fall 2017

The city of Boston is an embodiment of this conventional design practice, producing the condition of man by sea, rather than in, under or around. Its history is a story of the perpetual negotiation between human interests and natural forces, a contest that is epitomized by land reclamation practices in and around Boston Harbor. The divide between land and sea simplified the messiness of this process of perpetual negotiation into lines on maps. The practice of mapping strengthened the convention, by drawing numerous lines and borders that demarcate territorial orders and justify universal categorization of where is the sea and where is the land.

Environmental risk posed by climate change forces us to reassess the traditional practices of environmental demarcation, and further imagine new ways for the conception of urban development and intervention. It demands a reflexive calculation on what science and policy are delivering, and its influence on how we think, live, and grow. Shall we design together with the events, as they unfold, with no reliance on the ‘scientific’ truth in question? If so, how do we design based on numerous unknown variables?

This project is a speculative investigation into the reconception of marine boundaries, reversal of the conventional land-expansion practices, and an attempt to shift the cultural attitude on the issues of climate change and sea level rise. As climate risk, instability and impossibility of prediction flips the logics of the horizontal expansion to the vertical axis, we shall design together with rising water