SCI 6333. Water, Land-Water Linkages, and Aquatic Ecology

This course will provide students with an understanding of water that will inform their professional approaches to landscape architecture, architecture, and planning, and contribute to protecting, improving, restoring, and sustaining water resources. Emphasis will be placed on both the science and the application of this science in designs for projects involving a wide range of interactions with water including coastlines, inland rivers and lakes, and urban stormwater. With ongoing global changes in climate, urbanization, and the use of water for energy and food production, the relationship between humans and water will continue to grow and evolve. Students will come away from this course with a better understanding of this evolution and how designs can account for hydrologic change and adaptation. While many varied case studies will be discussed throughout the semester, the course content will be discussed in the context of four primary project and research areas:

  • Don River, Toronto
  • Charles River and Boston Harbor
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Plymouth, MA.

Discussion of these focus areas will include design challenges, social issues, permitting, and the implementation process. Students will come away with a better understanding of how projects go from conceptual design to a constructed site. Students will be encouraged to bring water and ecology-related projects/challenges from other courses, studios, or projects to the class for an open discussion. This ‘Ecological Seminar’ will be an opportunity for students to cross-pollinate with other studios and departments and receive critical and helpful feedback for their projects.  Hands-on exercises include watershed delineation, hydrologic calculations to estimate runoff and groundwater infiltration and flow, design exercises developing recommendations for stormwater best-management-practices/low-impact design (LID) for neighborhood in Washington, DC, and research and design exercises for river restoration projects. Attendance at two fieldtrips with hands-on field sampling will be mandatory: a 2-day weekend field trip to Plymouth and an in-class fieldtrip to the Alewife stormwater facility.


Timothy Dekker
Nicholas Nelson







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 2018-2019 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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