Spring 2013

Semester Start Date: 
Friday, February 1, 2013

Urban Sustainability in Action

Considers the theory and practice of urban sustainability. Introduces concepts of environmental sustainability, systems dynamics, ecological footprints, and environmental indicators. Investigates cutting-edge practices of cities in the US and around the world. Drawing on those examples, students identify opportunities to make the Boston more sustainable and make a persuasive case for adopting their ideas.

The Law and Politics of Land Use

Analysis of local and state power to regulate land use and development. Particular emphasis on the evolution of planning and zoning regulations, and the perceived narrowing of the relationship between public improvements requirements and development impact. The ability of regulatory bodies to impose environmental performance standards and limit development activity is explored in relation to recent Supreme Court and State SJC decisions. Development decisions rendered by public agencies are reviewed, critiqued, and discussed.

Real Estate Ventures II: Negotiating Leases, Financings, and Restructurings

Building on 11.351, studies key issues of principal asset management agreements, through the lens of the real estate developer/investor, in connection with the value creation, financing and restructuring phases of a real estate venture. Value creation phase focuses on negotiating office and retail leases. Financing phase focuses on negotiating permanent and mezzanine loans and intercreditor agreements.

Innovative Project Delivery in the Public and Private Sectors

Develops a strong strategic understanding of how best to deliver various types of projects in the built environment. Examines the compatibility of various project delivery methods, consisting of organizations, contracts, and award methods, with certain types of projects and owners. Six methods examined: traditional general contracting; construction management; multiple primes; design-build; turnkey; and build-operate-transfer. Includes lectures, case studies, guest speakers, and a team project to analyze a case example. First half of term. Prerequisites: permission of instructor


Seminar on downtown in US cities from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth. Emphasis on downtown as an idea, place, and cluster of interests, on the changing character of downtown, and on recent efforts to rebuild it. Topics considered include subways, skyscrapers, highways, urban renewal, and retail centers. Focus on readings, discussions, and individual research projects. Meets with undergraduate subject 11.026J, but assignments differ.

Urban Design Studio: Shrinking Cities

Examines the rehabilitation and re-imagination of a city. Analyzes the city at three scales: citywide, neighborhood, and individual dwellings. Aims to shape innovative design solutions, enhance social amenity, and improve economic equity through strategic and creative geographical, urban design and architectural thinking. Intended for students with backgrounds in architecture, community development, and physical planning. Limited to 12. Only open by application, and by permission of instructor.

Urban Design Ideals & Action: Parametric Urbanism & Singapore Workshop

Examines the relationship between urban design ideals, urban design action, and the built environment through readings, discussions, presentations, and papers. Analyzes the diverse design ideals that influence cities and settlements, and investigates how urban designers use them to shape urban form. Provides a critical understanding of the diverse formal methods used to intervene creatively in both developed and developing contexts, especially pluralistic and informal built environments. Prerequisites: 11.301J/4.252J, a prior design degree, or permission of instructor.

Urban Design Seminar

Examines the changing nature of cities and emerging design challenges in the 21st century. Core lectures and discussions identify new technological, environmental, social and other trends that are transforming the way we build and use cities. Case studies illustrate cutting edge urban design projects and methods by which they may be evaluated. Work focuses on student teams, which identify and research key themes of future design. Required for Urban Design certificate students.

Theory of City Form

Theories about the form that settlements should take. Attempts a distinction between descriptive and normative theory by examining examples of various theories of city form over time. Concentrates on the origins of the modern city and theories about its emerging form, including the transformation of the 19th-century city and its organization. Analyzes current issues of city form in relation to city-making, social structure, and physical design. Prerequisites: 11.001, 4.252, or 11.301

Digital City Design Workshop

Students develop proposals, at the city and neighborhood scales, that integrate urban design, planning, and digital technology. Aims to create more efficient, responsive, and liveable urban places and systems that combine physical form with digital media, sensing, and advanced communications. Involves research and project work which is supported by lectures, case studies of digital city design, and involvement from experts and representatives of subject cities. Limited to 12.