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MUDD 21 - City Visions II

Message from the Program Director With the MUDD 21 theme ‘CITY VISIONS II: Method & Design – Berlin | Chicago | Sydney, the UNSW Master of Urban Development & Design Program returns to urban concepts and urban realities explored two years ago in the STADTVISIONEN/CITY VISIONS presentation by the MUDD19 class. This combined the STADTVISIONEN exhibition of critical projects a century apart in Berlin, Chicago, Paris & London prepared at TU Berlin under the direction of Professor Dr Harald Bodenschatz with a companion study of projects in Sydney and Canberra prepared at UNSW under the direction of Professor Karl Fischer.

Professor James Weirick

In 2015-2016 through direct experience we have explored three of the cities documented in the STADTVISIONEN/CITY VISIONS exhibition – Berlin, Chicago, Sydney – returning again to the definition proposed by Dr Alfonso Vegara Gómez in his 2013 Reid Lecture at UNSW: A city vision can be defined as a flexible language for sharing and augmenting the strengths of a place. It is a living body of work resulting from inclusive urban analysis, civic participation, trial and error and experience. A vision acts as a blueprint for the creative transformation of urban landscapes through specific, implementable, high impact projects all the while complementing the more traditional problem-solution model of dealing with urban challenges. We have taken a critical approach to ‘inclusive urban analysis’ by focusing on method and design, the interaction of analysis and synthesis which underpins the making of the urban project. We see method operating on two levels. First as a theoreticallyinformed integration of ‘the material and symbolic dimensions of urban life through spatial formation and design intervention’ explored by Emeritus Professor Alexander Cuthbert in Understanding Cities: method and design (2011) and encapsulated in his MUDD21 essay. Second as an explicit presentation of iterative decision-making with origins in the rational design process, reviewed by Emeritus Professor Jon Lang in Urban Design: a typology of procedures and products (2005) and similarly encapsulated in his MUDD21 essay. We see the first as providing the conceptual frame for the second.

“We have taken a critical approach to ‘inclusive urban analysis’ by focusing on method and design, the interaction of analysis and synthesis which underpins the making of the urban project”


In the 2015-2016 Berlin International Studio hosted by our friends at TU Berlin, the current crisis of supply and demand in the housing market, exacerbated by the influx of refugees from war-torn countries of the Middle East, provided the conceptual frame for studies to consolidate and augment a tower-and-slab housing estate of the German Democratic Republic era in the middle-ring district of Prenzlauer Berg. This project in the middle ring formed part of a larger study of the 1862 Hobrecht Expansion Plan for Berlin noted for its squares and radial streets and, in the past, notorious for its rental barracks – the packed perimeter block Mietskasernen. Now valued housing at lower occupancy rates, the perimeter block type in its modern manifestation underpinned the Studio investigation of critical infill and housing affordability. In the 2015-2016 Chicago International Studio hosted by the Global City Design Practice, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the reality of social and economic segregation in the City of Chicago, endemic since the 1920s, provided the conceptual frame for an inspirational project in the Burnham tradition of ‘big plans’ and the Saul Alinsky

Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  

City Visions: Method & Design Chicago | Berlin | Sydney International Studio workshops from the Masters of Urban Development & Design degree...