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Democracy and Design: Imagining New Public Realms

Semester and Year SP 2019
Course Number ARTS-UG1633
Section 001
Instructor Carl Skelton
Days M
Time 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4
Level U


IDSEM-UG 1994 and ARTS-UG 1633 are offered together. Students enrolled in IDSEM-UG 1994 will focus their work on research, critical analysis, and writing; students enrolled in ARTS-UG 1633 will design alternatives for the built public realm. Projects will be developed by teams combining students from both groups. Note that ARTS-UG 1633 units do not count towards fulfillment of liberal arts foundation or interdisciplinary seminar requirements.


What does it mean to design democratically? This course, an intensive 3D design studio, explores some of the many ways of answering this question by crossing boundaries between architecture and urbanism, social science research, public realm process, and technology. In this course, we begin by considering the network of public spaces (from the city’s streets to its power supplies) in New York City as a system of functional and aesthetic interactions and a social reality. We turn, then, to the possibilities of design to intervene in this network. What does it mean for an urban space to reflect democraticness? How should we, as democratically-minded designers, think about the sometimes conflicting demands of civility and the pressures of a well-functioning city? Students will work in teams to define these conceptual problems and will make use of state-of-the-art technology to develop designs that reimagine what a civil civic space might look like.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)