Course Syllabus

 TOWARD RESILIENT CITIES AND LANDSCAPES

 RESILIENT PLANNING PRACTICUM: A GREEN NEW DEAL FOR APPALACHIA

 

Columbia University in the City of New York

Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation / GSAPP A6832 / PLAN6617



FALL 2019 UD Seminar & Practicum II / Urban Planning Practicum 

Day/Time: Tuesdays  3:00pm-5:00pm 

Location:   WARE Lounge Avery Hall

Note: Some books are on our seminar shelf ___or on reserve at Avery Library

 

Instructors:

PLANNING Prof. Thad Pawlowski t.pawlowski@columbia.edu

 

URBAN DESIGN Prof. Kate Orff RLA  ko2111@columbia.edu 



 COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course explores urban design & planning practice through the lens of resilience. We will focus 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. The UD Seminar and Planning practicum will share learning objectives, guest lectures, and a field trip; but the course  will have separate instructors, assignments and evaluation. A shared central learning objective will be to develop an understanding workshops as an essential tool for design and planning. Students will help to design and implement a public workshop that will explore the possibilities of social, environmental, and economic transformation that could follow a coordinated national infrastructure program such as those being proposed today as a Green New Deal.  We will travel to a small town in Western Pennsylvania to conduct this workshop, developing techniques to engage a broad set of stakeholders in complex and sometimes divisive conversation.   

 

Interdisciplinary collaboration is  a central challenge to implementing policies and projects needed to address the climate crisis. This shared learning environment is intended to facilitate collaboration between students enrolled in the urban design and planning program at GSAPP.   At the same time, students will be expected to develop and apply their emerging professional skills toward the collective effort. The planners will be responsible for developing an understanding of historic and existing policies that govern infrastructure development, and exploring pathways for their reconception.   Urban designers will focus on catalytic urban ecological design projects and emergent forms of design practice that synthesize infrastructure with public space and ecosystem thinking.

       

Through faculty guidance and relevant readings, this seminar will facilitate informed discussion and exchange on dynamic, systems thinking, and imagine cities of the future as a living field of infrastructure and a hybrid of cultural and natural systems. We will also discuss and critique the concept of resilience as a position - does it  lack radical change at its core? How does the concept of resilience apply particularly in the context of countries in different stages of the urbanization process and where social justice and democracy are nascent? Can a concept like resilience help to define and catalyze a positive future for a post fossil-fuel community, such as those emerging in Appalachia and the Rust Belt?




FORMAT

The course will be divided into three phases with three assignments:  

 

Weeks 1- 4:  Introduction to Resilience:  We will share a series of guest speakers, readings and events, including a trip to U.Penn for a Green New Deal conference and an event on Governo’s Island for Climate Week.   Students will be expected to complete readings and engage in discussions.  

 

Weeks 5-9:  Preparation for Resilience Workshop in Johnstown.   Students will be responsible for developing materials for the workshop, including case studies and site investigation.  The planning students will also help to develop the workshop exercises and the design students will prepare visual materials.  

 

Week 10-13:  Reflection on thorny issues. Reporting back from the workshop and synthesizing learnings.  The final deliverable for the course will be a workshop report that summarizes a resilient future for Appalachia.

 

 



Course Requirements

 

Students are expected to do all of the assigned reading, to actively participate in class discussion, and to prepare questions for lectures and engage actively in dialogue throughout the semester. Students will be asked to work in small teams of no more than 3 ( designers and 1 planner) to produce research and visualizations for the workshop.   . This presentation is an investigation and critical understanding, to include drawings, diagrams and text, of one case study of a mode of practice and representative project(s) that emphasize synergistic thinking between community organizing, science, design and engineering in an urban context. Two classes will be dedicated to desk crits on this exercise. This presentation will be critiqued and translated into narrative and will serve as the basis for the brief final synopsis paper, due at the end of the semester. Students may also be asked to prepare 1-2 brief issues paragraph reactions to specific readings or to prepare and transmit questions in advance for invited speakers. 

 

In order to reduce paper consumption, PDFs of readings will be made available on Google Drive, and books will be placed on our reserve shelf 409 in Avery Library where possible.  Note that your final Design report (approximately 10-15 pages) must source at least two required or recommended readings. You are asked to regularly and thoughtfully participate in discussions, and to prepare questions for speakers, and responses to readings. You cannot miss more than 3 classes. Please inform the instructor in advance should you have to miss class for any reason. 

 

 

Course Schedule

9/03 Week 1         

Tues INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDIO & “RESILIENCE THINKING”  

Location: Ware Lounge  

3-4 pm /  Intro to the Seminar, Schedule and Expectations  

 

4-5pm / After Great Disasters: How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery 

visiting lecturer Rob Olshansky, Klaus Jacob 

 

An introductory discussion on the objectives and format of the course, and review of the course schedule and expectations with Kate and Thad.  Initial lecture on methodologies and strategies for changing the conversation and integrating resilience, infrastructure and equity into urban design & planning practice by Thad Pawlowski.  What is the agency of the urban designer and planner? What is resilience? What is adaptation? How can resilience as an applied framework advance new collaborations, planning practice, and policy? Kate  will provide a brief overview of the ecosystem driven resilience concepts and examples of shocks and stressors facing global cities from flooding, to coastal erosion, to threats such as lack of sediment supply and sand mining. Design strategies will be presented that aspire to rethink urban design as socio-ecological change process and design strategies for combining regenerative Infrastructure with social agency.

 

Reading: 

 

Kate Aronoff, With a Green New Deal, Here's What the World Could Look Like for the Next Generation https://power.buellcenter.columbia.edu/essays/474

 

Dr. Rob Olshansky 

https://urban.illinois.edu/people/faculty-directory/core-faculty/24-robert-olshansky

 

Recommended Reading:

Toward an Urban Ecology, by K. Orff / SCAPE. Chapters ‘Intro” “Revive”and “Scale”  (in Drive)

 

9/10                   Week 2     

Tues What is Resilience?  Bouncing Back and Bouncing Forward 

Lecture & Discussion: A conversation with Michael Berkowitz 

Location: Ware Lounge  

 

Mike will share examples from 100 RC / Rockefeller’s work and highlight initiatives that span policy, strategy, design, funding and implementation. Resilience in practice - what does collaboration mean ?

***do the reading & prepare 3 questions for Michael 

 

Reading: 

“Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world.” by Brian Walker, David Salt, Walter Reid BH Walker Island Press, 2006

 

The Resilience Dividend  Judith Rodin. (in the drive)  it is suggested that you read the entire book over the course of the semester, however you may for the purposes of this seminar session focus on  Introduction and Chapter 

 

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/mike-berkowitz-100-resilient-cities-its-new-era-climate-action

 

***do the reading & prepare 3 questions for Mike Berkowitz - please submit your questions via CANVAS before class time




9/13   Week 2

Fri DESIGNING THE GREEN NEW DEAL Philadelphia, PA 

UPenn/Buell Center Symposium on Green New Deal 

BUSES LEAVE COLUMBIA AT 6:30 AM !  SUGGEST TO PACK LUNCH & WATER 

You do not need to get a ticket. Columbia has reserved a block of tickets. 

 

9/17 Week 3

NEW METHODS FOR COLLABORATIVE DESIGN 

Thad Pawlowski: WORKSHOP WARM UP

 

Columbia GSAPP and CRCL have been invited to participate in Our Futures Festival NYC, a one day celebration to open Climate Week on Governor’s Island.  This presents an opportunity to warm-up our workshop skills and engage the public in a conversation about the innovation in critical infrastructure systems needed in order to transition to carbon-free fuels by mid-century; and how those will need to work together in order to make our city more sustainable, resilient and equitable.   

 

During this workshop, students will be asked to draw a simple diagram of how that system works today and how it will be vulnerable to climate change.

 

Readings: TBD based on system assignment

 

9/17 **Special Event at The Forum: Lessons From Rebuild By Design 

Shaun Donovan, former Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, Obama Administration and Kate Orff, Columbia University  

 Lecture (forum) - 6:30 PM

https://worldprojects.columbia.edu/content/events

 

Please register here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lessons-from-rebuild-by-design-with-shaun-donovan-and-kate-orff-tickets-69489255233

 

Reading: TOO BIG: Rebuild By Design / A Transformative Approach to Climate Change  (Ovink & Beoijenga)   (PDF in the Drive) 




9/21  SATURDAY BONUS CLASS -CLIMATE WEEK EVENT in GOVERNOR’S ISLAND, A workshop warm-up



9/24 Week 4

Tues Invited Speaker: Nicholas Pevsner 

HISTORY OF NEW DEAL LANDSCAPES 

Research case study: FRACKING IN APPALACHIA

 

Reading: “The Deep Section” in Scenario Journal, and “Green New Deal, Landscape and the Public Imagination”  - both in the Seminar Drive  

 

 

9/27 *** Special Event 

Friday Public Works for a Green New Deal 3:00-5:30 PM Wood Auditorium 

Daniel Aldana Cohen, on Housing

Public Transportation 

Public Electricity, Abby Spienok, Harvard - Electricity and Energy 




10/1 Week 5

Tues LECTURE:  Johnstown as Case Study for Green New Deal in Post-Industrial America

Thaddeus Pawlowski on the geography, history, planning and design challenges of 

Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A discussion of Regional Economic Transition and the power of planning to make a difference. 

 

10/08         Week 6

WORKSHOP PREP  #1 

Separate research assignments .  Additional handout will be provided with detailed instructions

 

  1. Each student is responsible for one  case study (5 slides).
  2. Work with your team to develop a map of the infrastructure in Western Pennsylvania and describe some of the issues, referencing climate change and energy transition.
  3. Planners on student teams should also prepare an understanding of the governance of that infrastructure including historical development, employment and current trends.

 

WATER

  1. Water Supply & Quality, dams, drinking water reservoirs 
  2. Wastewater Treatment, industrial pollution, domestic wastewater, Stormwater  
  3. Rivers & edge infrastructure, flooding, channelization, riverbank reclamation  

CULTURE & ECONOMY 

  1. Industrial Heritage, Manufacturing, job growth
  2. Arts and Culture as economic generators 
  3. Health care & aging, urban heat 

DECARBONIZING TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING  

  1. Transit & Intercity Rail
  2. Housing 

ENERGY & WASTE

  1. Energy Generation - decarbonizing 
  2. Waste Management

PREPARATION & FEEDBACK FOR CASE STUDIES AND DESIGN SKETCHES. 

During this session we will be meeting in the classroom to review progress on the Case Study Presentation (approx 15 min duration each) and the initial mapping & documentation of the Design sketch sites.  Please be prepared to discuss your work. 

 

10/15 Week 7

Tues WORKSHOP PREP #2    

Case Study Review & presentation prep 

10/22 Week 8

Tues WORKSHOP PREP #3    

Case Study Review & presentation prep 

 

10/26-29 TRAVEL TO PENNSYLVANIA FOR WORKSHOP ON ECONOMY & ECOLOGY 

A detailed hand out will be provided with additional detail

 

10/27

Sunday LECTURE:  Rivers as Ecological and Economic Engines  

Kate Orff on the catalytic power of rivers to bring cities together and drive a change process. 

Specific examples from Louisville, Lexington, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and other places will be incorporated into the lecture. 



10/28 WORKSHOP DAY IN PA 

Monday Note: Urban Designers, your studio faculty are aware that 

you will miss class on Monday October 28th. 

         

   

10/29   Week 9

NO CLASS 

WE WILL BE RETURNING FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA

 

11/05     Week 10  

ELECTION DAY / NO CLASS

 

 

11/12

Week 11            IN- CLASS DISCUSSION

THORNY ISSUE: MANAGED RETREAT & RESETTLEMENT 

 

Nathan Kensinger will visit the class and show his video

Debate ! RETREAT or REBUILD or ________ 

 

Eric Klinenberg “Adaptation” 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/adaptation-2

 

Elizabeth Rush 

https://urbanomnibus.net/2015/02/leaving-the-sea-staten-islanders-experiment-with-managed-retreat/

 

On Staten Island: Liz Koslov 

 http://woods.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/koslov-retreat-draft-public-culture-2016.pdf

 

Lizzie Yarina, “Your Seawall Will Not Save You, Places Journal, March, 2018, found at: https://placesjournal.org/article/your-sea-wall-wont-save-you/



Sunday

***November 17 Special Event:  The Green New Deal - A Public Assembly 

The Buell Center, The Architecture Lobby, NY AIA 

At the QUEENS MUSEUM, Queens NY  

 

   

 

11/19          

Week 12   BRIEF PRESENTATION - GROUPS 

Reporting Back

CULTURE & ECONOMY & HUMAN SERVICES

TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING 

          

11/22 Green New Deal Super Crit at GSAPP Wood Auditorium



11/22  **Special Event 

Friday Columbia World Projects River & Delta Cities Symposium

 

THANKSGIVING BREAK 11/23-11/24

    

       

11/26  

Week 13 BRIEF PRESENTATION - GROUPS 

Reporting Back 

WATER

ENERGY & WASTE

 

11/30          Last day of classes

 

12/07 Urban Design Final Review 



12/10            

Tuesday FINAL CHAPTERS DUE 



12/20               Grades due          

Course Summary:

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