SCI 6141: Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies I

Recognizing that plants are one of the essential mediums of landscape architecture, this class seeks to introduce the student to two basic relationships; the relationship between plants and people (horticulture) and the relationship between plants and the environment (ecology).

The first half of the semester is structured to include one field trip, one lecture and on plant identification quiz per week. Evaluation of student performance is based on quiz grades and class attendance. The class focuses on the following topics and objectives:

- Concepts, and practices necessary for using plants as a design medium.
- Demonstrations of how to identify individual plants, the landscape communities they are part of, the ecological factors that define individual communities.
- Introduction to the spatial, visual, functional, temporal, and sensorial qualities of approximately 100 plants.
- Introduction to the horticultural requirements of the above-mentioned plants as well as the pragmatic relationship between how plants are commercially produced and how they are used in the designed landscape.

The second half of the semester is structured around lectures, drawing and design exercises. Students will be introduced to the growth characteristics of urban trees, their form, scale and responses to the environment. We will learn how to advocate for trees in the urban environment with various graphic techniques, writing, and an understanding of how trees shape and are shaped by urban conditions. Students will be introduced to a series of planting typologies and will carry out design exercises using those typologies, while focusing on the experience and compositional characteristics of the tree species studied earlier in the semester.

The semester will conclude by bringing the knowledge of trees as a design medium into the final studio project. Evaluation of the student performance is based on the design exercises, participation in class reviews and discussions, and attendance.

Matthew Urbanski teaches the first half of the semester on Tuesdays from 2-6 pm and Wednesday from 8:30-10:30am.
Rosetta Elkin teaches the second half of the fall semester on Wednesdays from 8:30-11:30.



Matthew Urbanski
Rosetta Elkin






T 2:00-6:00; W 8:30-11:30; Th 2:00-6:00

Course ID: 


Subject Area: 

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning
  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2017-2018 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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