FRSEMR 70P. The World of Tomorrow: Construction and Inhabiting the 21st Century


  • Professor: Arthur Segel
  • Term: Fall
  • Day: T
  • Time: 12:45-2:45PM
  • School: Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Course ID: 203389

The built environment has profound effects on both our daily lives as well as 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, cultural, and generational issues within a society. The quality and availability of affordable housing, for instance, 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 a myriad of stakeholders and considerations: cultural, societal, financial, even philosophical. By examining these issues on a variety of scales, ranging from the single-family home to the megacity, this seminar investigates how the built environment is the fingerprint of societal values and how it can be a vehicle for both positive and negative change.This seminar weaves together the practical aspects and social factors that will contribute to building the future. 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, and economic inequality affect us as both inhabitants and constructors of tomorrow’s world. Week by week, students will partake in conversation and debate surrounding some of the most pressing issues of the future. At the end of the seminar, students will integrate both ideological and practical considerations to design a new city from scratch and put together applicable, real-world perspectives on best practices for the City of Tomorrow. As part of this dual process of investigation and application, students will have the opportunity to meet with world-renowned academics and executives, while taking excursions into Cambridge, Boston, and beyond.