*Freshman Seminar 70p. The City of Tomorrow: Constructing and Inhabiting the 21st Century
The built environment has profound effects on both our daily lives and the human condition at large; it determines where and how we live, work, play, and dream. The built environment embodies concrete stances on a wide variety of material, spatial, and cultural issues within a society. For example, the quality and availability of affordable housing is not merely an economic concern, but also a value judgment about the obligations of a society to its citizens. Underlying the practical aspects of the built environment—can this be built?—are cultural and societal considerations. By examining these issues on a variety of scales, ranging from a personal home to a megacity, this seminar focuses on how the built environment is a fingerprint of our societal values and how it can be a vehicle for change. This seminar weaves together the practical aspects and social factors that make up the built environment. Each week, students will take on the role of decision-makers and engage with a wide variety of ethical, aesthetic, political, environmental, and social considerations. We will discuss how issues such as climate change, rapid urbanization, resource scarcity, economic inequality, and geopolitical conflicts, affect us as both inhabitants and constructors of the built environment. At the end of the seminar, students will bring together both ideological and practical considerations to design a new utopia.
Notes: As part of this dual process of investigation and application, students will have the opportunity to meet with architects, urban planners, and developers, while also taking excursions into Cambridge and Boston. Only open to Freshman students.