Urban Eden – Imaging the Future City

Wintersession 2010 Studio
Anne Tate

Too often our predictions for the future are based on the limitations we experience or fear and result in distopian visions of the city. In this course, we will open our minds and imaginations to the positive possibilities, considering what kind of environments we could construct if we used all our resources effectively and fairly.

Based on the idea that the key to the city of the future is a new relationship to nature, we will consider the American conceptions of nature from the Native Americans, the colonial era, the frontier, the rise of the industrial city and the explosion of the suburbs. We will explore ideas about nature: wilderness, pastoralism, agriculture, the middle landscape, organic farming, urban gardens, which have given form to our ideals of the landscape and the city. We will reconsider how to integrate nature and the city in a new paradigm.

Each student will be asked to create a contributing idea, image, or design to a utopian conception of life in the city. These will not be fantasies but projections that are well grounded in current and near-future strategies and technologies. Encompassing a wide range of issues, individual projects will complement and expand on each other. The projects will be reviewed for inclusion in a publication.