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Department of New Jersey School of Architecture

Master of Infrastructure Planning

Changing Cities Program:
Urban Design at NJIT

NJIT’s Changing Cities is an intensive, year-long, studio-based program that develops professionals to plan and design in the contemporary city. The program responds to the needs arising from a rapidly urbanizing world: to transform existing cities through progressive urban design strategies, and to change the basic DNA of future cities by inventing new, responsive forms of urbanization.

In two consecutive studios complemented by lectures and seminars, students develop design proposals that actively seek to transform urban conditions by making cities more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful. Projects range in scale from the design of discrete physical interventions, to the restructuring of urban districts, to the reimagining of mega-regions. During the first semester, program participants engage in design projects aimed at improving local urban conditions in the New York metropolitan region whereas the second semester is dedicated to inventing new urban design paradigms in international settings.

The program focuses on innovative urban design and planning practice that is informed by in-depth local analysis and global understanding of large-scale forces at work in city-making and urbanization. Using new and emergent techniques, students learn to analyze and visualize both the physical and non-physical forces shaping urban conditions, to design in a variety of urban contexts and scales, and to critically evaluate the social, economic, and ecological impact of their own urban design proposals and interventions.

The 36 credit, one-year design-intensive program is directed at students with previous degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, or other related disciplines. The studio-based program provides urban design and planning training for working in existing urban conditions as well as for envisioning new forms of urbanization with studios and seminars covering projects in both contexts. Students are introduced to methodologies such as framework development, masterplanning, visioning, scenario planning, constituency analysis, community engagement, zoning and land use, and develop proficiency though application in design-based exercises in both local and global contexts. Studios are complemented by skill-based learning modules, which are intended to give students a wide variety of analytic and technical tools to develop and evaluate their design projects

Curriculum

The curriculum includes a combination of interdisciplinary design studios, courses in technologies and techniques, and seminars in history, theory, and practice.

A typical full-time study plan over two semesters indicating required courses and recommended electives is shown below; degree credits are in parentheses.

Semester 1

MIP 601 Changing Cities Studio I: (required) (6 credits)
MIP 631 History & Theory of Urbanization (required) (3 credits)
MIP 675 Cities and Systems (required) (3 credits)
MIP 652 Geographic Information Systems (required) (3 credits)
MIP 647 Toolbox Module 1: Modeling the Urban, [3-d softwares, Ecotect]
Toolbox Module 2: Seeing the City [video and mixed media] (required)
(3 credits)

Semester 2

MIP 602 Changing Cities Studio II: (required) (6 credits)
MIP 618 Public and Private Development (required) (3 credits)
MIP 655 Land Use Planning: (recommended) (3 credits)
MIP 673 Strategic Planning and Design: (recommended) (3 credits)
MIP 674 Toolbox Module 3: Designing Feedback [Participation, Social Media]
Toolbox Module 4: Sensing the City
(3 credits)

Research Topics

Each year, the Changing Cities Program focuses on a specific research topic that is investigated comprehensively through the two-studio sequence and culminates with a student-led publication. The research topic for 2012-2013 is Urban Age.

The research topic for 2013-2014 is Rebuilding New Jersey.

Inquiries

Inquiries about the Changing Cities Program should be directed to:

Georgeen Theodore
Changing Cities Director
New Jersey School of Architecture
University Heights
Newark, NJ 07102-1982

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Professor Georgeen Theodore on Newark as an Urban Lab.