SES 5389. Integrated Design & Planning for Climate Change

This advanced research seminar in Miami-Dade County, Florida, is thematically focused within the integrated practices associated with designing and planning for climate change at an urban and regional scale. The seminar will geographically focus on urban to exurban communities—running east-west along Calle Ocho from Brickell Avenue in the City of Miami to the Tamiami Trail in the unincorporated community of Tamiami. The seminar will seek to explore the various economic and planning conventions that have paradoxically created a built environment that on one hand supports a majority of the county’s population, yet on the other hand is otherwise defined by high exposure to surface flooding, traffic-clogged streets, and an increasingly unaffordable housing stock for lower- to middle-income populations.

The seminar seeks to challenge and explore:

Metrics of urban service delivery;

Synergistic land use and housing production models in rapidly densifying districts;

Processes for effective and fair managed retreat;

Strategic obsolescence of infrastructure;

Novel models for strategic economic development of workforces and their associated workplaces; and the designed adaptive capacity of architecture.

Course format:

Within the context of accelerated climatic, environmental, and social change, students will be required to independently select and develop a research agenda that demonstrates a command of the associated disciplinary literature framing the inquiry. In addition, each student will be required to develop analytical framework(s) that demonstrate the student’s competence for not only understanding the problem(s) but also utilizing such frameworks for practically engaging locally defined problems and stakeholders. In partnership with local stakeholders, students will travel to Miami to conduct field work to support their research. The seminar will culminate in the production of a project (e.g., memorandum, multimedia, etc.) that memorializes the analytical outcomes as well as a normative position for advancing future policy, planning, and design decisions.


Students are evaluated on one survey presentation and the final research memorandum/media. Each student is required to lead discussions on relevant literature/data shaping their research as well as periodic updates concerning their research progress. Students are encouraged to utilize the seminar to ground complementary existing research for ongoing theses and dissertations.

This seminar is offered in coordination with “Adapting Miami—Housing on the Transect” (STU 1304) taught by Eric Höweler and Corey Zehngebot. Students are encouraged to pair their projects in coordination with the work of the studio. Enrollment is open to all students at the GSD, but total enrollment is limited. Students enrolled in another traveling studio or course cannot enroll in this seminar. With the generous support of the Knight Foundation, this seminar will travel to Miami to conduct field work and engaged local stakeholders. As part of this initiative, students may have the opportunity to continue the research developed in this seminar beyond the end of the term. Travel to Miami is anticipated to take place from September 25–27. Students will be term-billed $100 and are responsible for all meals and incidentals. Students may travel with only one course or studio per semester.








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 2019-2020 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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