Course Syllabus

COLUMBIA GSAPP A6830 | DIFFERENCE & DESIGN

Adjunct Associate Professor Justin Garrett Moore, AICP

Tuesdays 11 AM - 1 PM, Room 203 Fayerweather

 

Highline 26th Street Viewing Spur by JCFO/DSR. Viewers on the Highline look east down Manhattan's 26th Street past the private Avenues School and NYCHA's Elliot Houses.  Photo credit: Iwan Baan

Highline 26th Street Viewing Spur by JCFO/DSR. Viewers on the Highline look east down Manhattan's 26th Street past the private Avenues School and NYCHA's Elliot Houses public housing. Photo credit: Iwan Baan

PURPOSE

New York, like most cities, has been designed for difference. This difference includes segregation by race and ethnicity in housing and schools, unequal and unjust investment in public spaces, mobility, infrastructure, and services, a lack of agency and representation of the multitude in the public realm, and, of course, by reinforcing the indelible marks of the city's income and wealth inequality. For generations, powerful or elite (and often white) men decided for the most part how the city has been planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained. For example, Robert Moses famously made structural racism literal with his highway and park designs. These legacy urban designs continue to affect us today and also persist in new ways. And, still, a relatively few dominant players and interests continue to design and build the world for difference, and unsurprisingly, to their benefit.

Of course, there have been people from every demographic taking a different approach for how we design our cities. Here, designing for difference is rooted in identifying broader and shared values, needs, and objectives. Rather than monumentally reinforcing difference, design can be a process and a tool to positively and systematically address difference. A growing field of designers, organizations, and offices have shown that this work can be central or at least integral to architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design practice. This emerging field has been called social design, impact design, design for good, design justice, and other monikers. Some leaders in socially- or environmentally-focused design include Theaster Gates, MASS Design, Latent Design, Hector, ASA Studio, Walter Hood, Francis Kere, Assemble, Department of Places, Sharon Davis, Colloquate, Interboro, Sweetwater Foundation, IDEO, Ekene Ijeoma, Mitch McEwen, Ronald Rael and Virgina San Fratello, Teddy Cruz, Germane Barnes, Toni L. Griffin, and many others. 

In Difference and Design, we will explore together some key questions: 

How has the built environment been shaped by difference? 

How do we make a difference in the design of our spaces, places, and cities? 

How do you want to make a difference through your practice as a designer? 

At the global scale, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) posit a framework of goals, targets, and indicators to help shape policies and actions that will address urbanization through using more sustainable and equitable approaches. More recently, in the United States, the Green New Deal proposal seeks to create positive social, economic, and environmental impact to address legacies of inequality. Toni L. Griffin’s Just City Index creates a framework of indicators and metrics for evaluating social justice in planning and design. How will design fit in or contribute to these ideas that might help shape the cities of the future?

The format of the course will include readings, presentations, discussions, and case studies in the first half of the semester. The second half of the semester will focus on the development of research and design for a place-based or issue-based project focused on the design for difference in the built environment. 

 

STRUCTURE

Meeting Times:

The course is scheduled from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Tuesdays.  The class time will be used for both lecture/discussion and workshop sessions. Toward the second half of the semester the structure of the course is more analogous to a studio than a seminar with significant portion of the class time used for individual project feedback and presentations. Consequently, the course enrollment will be limited to 20 students; MSAUD program students will be given priority for the course.  

 

Guest Critics/Lecturers:

Urban design is an inherently collaborative discipline; complex projects often require consultation from experts with a range of backgrounds, interests, and experience.  The course will likely be supplemented by a number of guest critics or lecturers throughout the term.

 

READINGS & DISCUSSION

 

Short readings will be assigned throughout the semester; and students should be prepared to participate in discussions about the readings. Students are also encouraged to follow current online media (NextCity, FastCo Design, CityLab, etc.) to fold into our weekly discussions. 

 

SCHEDULE

 

D = Discussion where materials are presented and discussed as a class (like a lecture/seminar)

W= Workshop where students meet and share work with the professor (like a studio desk crit) 

 

September 3: Introduction

D: Course introduction and review case studies assignment

 

September 6: Email Case Study Choices

Students are to email whether they will be working individually or in a group and their case study selections for feedback to jgm35@columbia.edu by 6 p.m. Friday, September 6th.

 

September 10: Past Lecture/Readings Discussion

D: Urban inequality (including redlining, the New Deal, Robert Moses, colonial projects)

 

September 17: Present Lecture/Readings Discussion

D: Guest presentations by Silvia Vercher Pons, Maria Palomares Samper and discussion (including UN SDGs, Green New Deal, Just City)

 

September 24: Past Case Studies Presentations (Group A)

D: Case studies + current events

 

October 1: Past Case Studies Presentations (Group B)

D: Case studies + current events

 

October 8: Present Case Studies Presentations (Group A)

D: Case studies + current events

 

October 15: Present Case Studies Presentations (Group B)

D: Case studies + current events

 

October 22: Research/Design Project Ideas Discussion

W: Discuss and set a direction for your research/design project ideas 

I.e., are you interested in a research or conceptual project or a site- or program-based project? What issues or contexts do you want to focus on—economic opportunity, environmental justice, housing, gender equity, cultural values, climate adaptation, mobility access, etc.?

 

October 29: “Midterm” Research/Design Project Ideas Presentation

D: Instead of a typical midterm, we will review together in a modified ‘pecha kucha’ format your ideas for making a difference through design (and share you research and/or design project proposal). The presentation format is to use five 11”x17” (landscape) slides maximum and five minutes maximum to present. 

 

Friday, November 1: Case Studies + Project Proposals Archived

Upload your final case study and project proposal documents (incorporating any suggested edits/feedback) and final research/design project group selections by 6 p.m. for grading and compilation.

 

November 5: FALL BREAK - NO CLASS

Justin will provide feedback and grades for case study projects and feedback on final project group selections by email.

 

November 12: Project Development

W: Review research/design project materials

 

November 19: Project Development

W: Review research/design project materials

 

November 25: NO CLASS 

Justin will be out but will review your draft final project materials (using the template) by email.

 

December 3: Project Development

W: Review draft final presentation materials and text

 

December 10: Project Development

W: Review draft final presentation materials and text

 

December 17: Final Project Review 

D: Final Project Review

 

December 18: Poster/Pamphlet Due

Upload your final documents (incorporating any suggested edits/feedback from the final review) by 6 p.m. for grading and compilation.

 

EVALUATION & DELIVERABLES

 

Students may work individually or in a group of two, but all evaluation and grading are done on an individual basis. Groups of two are expected to produce more research and work than a student working individually. Each student/group will be responsible for developing over the course of the term three projects/documents: two case studies and a final research/design project. The case studies are a research and analysis of urban or design projects from past and present. The research and design project is developed throughout the second half of the semester as an individual or group and as an independently-developed project with guidance from the professor. These projects will be formally graded twice during the semester using uploaded final presentation and written materials, but regular informal project feedback will be given throughout the term. Attendance and active participation in class discussions is also considered in the final grade. Grades are based on a weighted average of the required course assignments and deliverables as listed below.  

 

20% Individual Attendance & Class Participation/Discussion 

 

20% Case Study: Past Practices/Projects

  • 11x17 Digital Poster (landscape)
  • 6-12-page designed 8.5x11 pamphlet presentation (will translate to 3-6 11x17 slides) including: images, drawings, 500-750-word text w/ attribution of sources and images
  • 5-10-minute verbal presentation using your poster and pamphlet (projected on screen)
  • Print one hard copy of the poster and pamphlet.

 

20% Case Study: Present Practices/Projects

  • 11x17 Digital Poster (landscape)
  • 6-12-page designed 8.5x11 pamphlet presentation (will translate to 3-6 11x17 slides) including: images, drawings, 500-750-word text w/ attribution of sources and images
  • 5-10-minute verbal presentation using your poster and pamphlet (projected on screen)
  • Print one hard copy of the poster and pamphlet.

 

40% Final Research/Design Project

  • 11x17 Digital Poster (landscape)
  • 10-20-page designed 8.5x11 pamphlet presentation (will translate to 5-10 11x17 slides) including: images, drawings, 750-1,500-word text w/ attribution of sources and images 
  • 7-10-minute verbal presentation using your poster and pamphlet (projected on screen)
  • Print one hard copy of the poster and pamphlet.

 

CONTACT

 

Justin G. Moore

Email: jgm35@columbia.edu 

Phone: 917.848.2562

Course Summary:

Date Details