Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities ☀ Info Session (UC Berkeley Summer Program)

Disc* is an immersive five-week summer program for college students offered by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment. Disc* participants engage in the discourses of urban innovation, and develop creative solutions to tackle the urgent challenges global cities face today. Disc* is open to eligible students from any college or university. No prior experience in design is necessary.
Sign up for the Disc* Information session
Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities:

On March 29, 2022 at 5pm PT, you will learn more about the UC Berkeley summer program. Sign-up for the virtual session now.

 

Urban + Informality: Framing Resilience | Winter 2020

Course Instructor

Manish Chalana + Julie Johnson

Course Date

Winter 2020

Course Type

Built Environments Interdisciplinary Studio

Fifteen graduate and three undergraduate students participated in the studio and developed compelling analyses of and proposals for informality in Central Seattle. The studio focused on urban informality through interrelated themes of housing, livelihoods, urban agriculture and arts/culture.

As these students were formalizing their projects for the end-of-quarter presentations, the University of Washington ended in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting upheaval and uncertainty led to canceling the students’ final presentations, and instead committing to presenting their studio report.

Urban + Informality Studio Report

Green New Deal Super Studio | Autumn 2020

 

Course Instructor

Brooke Sullivan

Course Date

Autumn 2020

Course Type

Undergraduate + Graduate Studio

The primary focus of this studio is to create ‘shovel ready’ design projects for Washington State that

  1. Decarbonize
  2. Create small businesses and job opportunities and
  3. Support social and ecological justice/democracy

In addition to providing visionary leadership around topics of the GND, this course will ask students to remove themselves as ‘the designer’ and instead, facilitate skills incorporative design progress, including compromise, communication, listening, inclusion, collaboration, and compassion.

Visit the studio website

Fairy Tales of the City

Course Instructor

Mackenzie Waller

Course Date

Summer 2020

Course Type

Undergraduate + Graduate Studio

Fairy-tale scholars Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix (2010) have defined fairy tales as “fictional narratives that combine human and nonhuman protagonists with elements of wonder and the supernatural.” This intensive design studio was inspired by the Fairy Tales design competition (www. blankspaceproject.com) and tackled real world issues through the lens of creativity.

The studio focused on presenting different interpretations of urban and urbanization to consider the social, economic and environmental transformations underway in our cities. The rise of negative social processes is most evident in cities, where key social conflicts often center on socio-spatial rights and needs.

Students each selected a city that they held extensive personal experience and during the course of the studio they developed a text based fictional fairy tale (800-1400 words). Each fairy tale identifies a unique challenge and uses narrative to present landscape architecture responses.

The studio tasked each project to embody the following:

  • Setting acts as a vehicle for ecocriticism, that is, the focus on nature/city and questions about the interaction between humans and the environment.
  • Engage story based strategy to develop a critical narrative engaging in complex problems evident in each city.
  • The central character of each story reflects the social identity of the author and offers evidence of critical reflection of their role in their community.

Download the PDF
View the studio report online

Birds + Climate Change

 

Course Instructor

Mackenzie Waller

Course Date

Winter 2020

Course Type

Undergraduate + Graduate Studio

As climate change becomes an increasing challenge there is still opportunity and hope for ensuring resiliency for our birds and the natural world. National Audubon’s Climate Report suggests about 2/3 of the birds in peril can be helped by acting now.This provides hope and a pathway for action.

The Birds + Climate Change Studio worked in partnership with the Tahoma Audubon Society at their small wetland park site in the South Puget Sound region, Adriana Hess Audubon Center. We tasked students with a series of questions. How can design balance the intersection of habitat specific solutions and urban public space? How might the Audubon Society create bird habitat while still ensuring the safety of park visitors? How can we creatively incorporate traditional park elements with natural habitat spaces and stormwater management?

This document attempts to capture the outcomes of these studio investigations across scales, from regional to small fabricated prototypes.

Download the PDF
View the studio report online

2018 Design+Build in Dals Langed, Sweden

In collaboration with students from HDK-Steneby, a design and crafts school located in Dals Långed, 15 students from University of Washington’s College of Built Environments, led by Professor Daniel Winterbottom, worked with the local immigrant and refugee community to create a community garden intended to improve well-being, alleviate the stresses of the integration process and connect this group with the broader community. The project goal was to create a deeper level of trust, connection and mutual respect between longtime residents and new arrivals.

The result of this project—a new public space—should greatly increase the quality of life for local residents, as it fills a need which was not previously supported by any of the existing spaces in Dals Långed: an outside meeting place where people of different ages, cultures and interests can meet and come together.


Course Details

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate + Graduate Studio
Study Abroad in Dals Langed, Sweden
Summer 2018
Instructor: Daniel Winterbottom

For lecturer Kristi Park, landscape architecture is for equity and activism

This story highlights the work of L ARCH 300 Intro to Landscape Architecture Studio in Autumn 2020. It originally appeared in The Daily on November 25, 2019. See the original article.


image from Kristi Parks Design Activism assignmentWhen UW lecturer Kristi Park assigned her 29 students a project in their landscape architecture class, she had few requirements: use found objects, don’t get arrested, don’t deface public property, don’t get hurt, and be respectful.

Most of the assignments in L ARCH 300: Introductory Landscape Architecture Design Studio, falls along the lines of typical design projects. But, starting last year, a unique “art activism” project was added to the syllabus. The students were given broad leeway to artistically create something that represents something they are passionate about.

After the projects were turned in, the Community Design Building in West Campus was filled with projects of a huge variety of sizes and mediums, including a couch, a toilet, and a structure covered in vines and foliage.

Park sees landscape architecture as an opportunity to design community spaces that emphasize the core values of equality, accessibility, and environmental responsibility. The idea of activism is a core aspect of the degree program.

While the course provides the necessary design and graphic skills to successfully imagine and implement landscape architectural proposals, a proposal should also emphasize values.

The aesthetic of a visual landscape, like a park, campus, or streetscape, is a high priority in landscape architecture. But Park believes that aesthetics don’t matter if the space is unusable or inaccessible.

“Whether you’re 2 years old, an elder citizen, have accessibility needs, or need to stay in a public space for longer than one might anticipate, I just feel really passionate about designing spaces for everyone,” Park said.

The emphasis on creativity is present throughout L ARCH 300. The studio meets for four-hour class sessions that provide ample opportunity for lively discussions, field trips to the Seattle Parks and Recreation, diverse reading lists, and a variety of projects to practice their design ability.

One student, Ava Ross, approached the art activism project by utilizing a couch to highlight the use of hostile architecture in Seattle. Her “Luxury Couch” had large prints on it that read “Every human needs to sleep. Every human needs to sit.”

“If you can’t have a private space because you’re experiencing homelessness, but you can’t exist in these public spaces and have these basic human needs met, like sitting and sleeping, then where are you supposed to go?” Ross said.

She noted that urban areas, including Seattle, take efforts to make seating in public spaces unusable by putting spikes on a ledge or placing a bar on a bench so people can’t lay down. By doing this, people experiencing homelessness are pushed to the edges of society.

“The art activism project has allowed students to see the design sequence in totality and also helps them to begin to develop a point of view,” Park said.

The couch was rolled to various places around campus and the U-District, prompting onlookers to recognize that a couch is considered a necessity by those with homes, but is often seen as a luxury for those with limited access to indoor spaces. Ross explained that it was meant to blur the lines between public and private spaces.

“It was interesting to see people interact with it, because people were taking photos of it,” Ross said. “The coolest part was there was actually a family sitting on it.”

In addition to teaching, Park is a professional landscape architect. In her work, she has practiced what she preaches. One recent project she worked on was the open parks and planning process with the Stillaguamish Tribe in Arlington.

“Getting to work with the Stillaguamish community was definitely an honor of my lifetime,” Park said. “Just to weave cultural stories and ethnobotany and community involvement into the landscape in the projects we were building was a really awesome experience.”

Throughout the process, Park engaged with Stillaguamish youth, having them participate in nature-based art projects of their own and give feedback on some of the design ideas.

Having not discovered landscape architecture until her thirties, Park sees working with communities, like the Stillaguamish, as a way to enhance the visibility of landscape architecture and the opportunities for creativity and community involvement it provides as a potential career.

Cinematic Cities

Course Instructor

Elizabeth Umbanhowar

Course Date

Summer 2018

Course Type

Advanced Undergraduate Studio

Course Description

“Cinematic Cities” features student films made in the summer 2018 as part of a summer design studio in the Department of the Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. Students explored how film can be used in design practice to analyse sites, communicate complex social and ecological systems and propose new visions for communities and cities.

Working with the Freeway Park Association, students focused on this iconic park, designed by Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva and opened on July 4, 1976. Their short films experiment and explore the park and its history and future, proposing new ways to imaging, navigate, inhabit and appreciate Freeway Park.

Staying in Place: Designing for Community Resilience

Course Instructors

Rachel Berney
Julie Johnson

Course Term

Winter 2018

Course Type

Built Environment Interdisciplinary Studio

Course Description

The studio and seminar were framed to engage students in concepts of resilience across different scales and through outreach with community members and others. The concept of “staying in place” expresses a response to catastrophic events as well as a claim to one’s local community. Drawing upon this duality, the studio investigated design for community resilience at the Mount Baker Light Rail Station Area. The development of this light rail station, SDOT’s strategies for “Accessible Mount Baker,” and other emerging initiatives provided a robust foundation.

The studio and seminar focused on defining dimensions of community resilience to support “staying in place.” Working with local stakeholders, the studio drew from relevant theory and precedents to propose opportunities within and beyond the neighborhood in the context of current planning initiatives, anticipated development opportunities, and potential upheavals to existing systems.

Learn more about the studio at bakerhub.be.washington.edu.

En Route: Georgetown + South Park Connection

Course Instructors

Brian Gerich

Course Date

Autumn 2017

Course Type

Advanced Undergraduate Studio

Course Description

The Neighborhood Design Studio has been keenly focused on delivering a design package that would represent the community desire. The hard work and rich data found in: Duwamish Restoration, Vision and Change Over Time by Cari Simson, The Georgetown Green Space Vision Framework and The South Park Green Space Vision Plan helped frame the foundation of the studio process and serves as a robust source of analysis and community effort. In those documents, Georgetown and South Park have expressed that a safe connection between the two neighborhoods is not only wanted, but is necessary. Rather than repeat the rich content of those robust resources, students built upon it to further their site analysis and design framework.

The studio engaged a diverse group of community members at a variety of community meetings. The primary goal was to prompt opportunities for listening and learning from the community, without repeating the activities, research, and processes that were so thoroughly covered in the vision processes. With careful planning, students asked participatory questions, inspired personal anecdotes and stories from residents, and were invited to contribute as welcomed participants in the community meetings. For many students, this was their rst experience in a community meeting. That process is a foundation of this collection of work.

View the studio book on Issuu