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Name of academic: Eugenie Birch and Simon Richter University of Pennsylvania
Main course information: The premise of this interdisciplinary seminar is that by combining design and environmental humanities we will be able to develop a complex sense of the interplay of infrastructure and affect in the lived and built environment of coastal cities already contending with sea level rise. Ranging temporally from Mesopotamia to the dystopian futures of climate fiction and geographically from Venice and Rotterdam, New York and New Orleans, to Jakarta and Dhaka, for example), the seminar explores an array of exemplary historical and present-day sites of delta urbanism as portrayed through views coming from the literary and design communities. We will engage directly with notable experts of design and water management (some of whom will be invited to the seminar) as well as works of literature, philosophy, history, and film. The course will have five parts informed by reading, lectures and discussions taken from design (primarily city planning, landscape architecture and architecture) and literature and film. Part I. Understanding the Problem/Issues will include a discussion on how the texts demonstrate different ways of “knowing” the extent and nature of a problem/issues; Part II. Phenomenology of the Anthropocene dwells on a set of literary texts that helps us discern distinct modes of consciousness relative to water and the city; Part III. Measuring Risk takes a look at how different disciplines consider the economic, environmental and social challenges of living with or near water; Part IV. Range of Solutions offers a survey of the approaches taken to design with water in mind; Part V. Case Studies focuses on selected cities around the world and how they are approaching the planning and design of their environments. The main assignment for the class is for students to work in interdisciplinary teams. Pairs of students (one student from design and one from humanities) will select a research project to explore a place or particular approach and how it treats the opportunities and challenges presented by the amphibious terrain. They will present their research design at the midterm and their finding in the final two weeks of the semester. The class will feature a field trip to New York City to meet with public and private officials dealing with the issues and tour key projects.
Year of publication (last updated max 5 years ago): 2018
Topic: Climate Resilience
Region Examined: Global (more than one region)
Language: English
Other language: Please specify: English
Geographical scale: Global
Level of Instruction: Semester/Quarter Length Courses/Modules
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