Four courses from the following areas are required:
- PRFTRN001 Introduction to the Urban Landscape Using Boston as a Case Study
- PRFTRN002 How To Read Urban Open Space
- PRFTRN003 Plant Materials for the Urban Landscape
- PRFTRN005 Urban Landscape Design
You may choose two electives in the following areas:
- Energy for the Future
- Urban design standard
- Designing within a community process
- Water management
- Land use ethic and history
- Software tools
- Dispute resolution
- Communication skills
- Project management
- Writing skills
Internships can be completed with an organization that is relevant to a student’s area of interest. The internship is meant to enhance a student’s learning experience in the program. Consultation with an instructor in the program is recommended.
This course consists of a series of topics taught by exciting and experienced faculty. You will explore the history, geography, evolution, influences and future of Boston’s landscape as the city and its people grow.
A View of Boston Landscape History
This seminar, using Boston as a case study, presents a basic historical outline of Boston’s landscape from the first human settlement on the Shawmut Peninsula to the creation of large, residential housing developments in the South End and Back Bay. The impact of different cultural attitudes, social and economic influences on the city’s environment is discussed. In addition, the concern for public health and social reform as a primary impetus for the creation of parks and playgrounds are also explored.
The Unique Geography of Boston
Probably more than any other American city, Boston has transformed its landscape, its very form. A time traveler from the 18th century would find the landscape, as well as the architecture and infrastructure, unrecognizable. This course will review the major watersheds in that transformation, from the filling in of the Back Bay to the current development of the Greenway. "At any moment in time", as Schultz wrote, "the physical landscape of the city reveals countless decisions of bygone days about the ’best’ uses of space…urban forms reveal what was and was not important to their builders and residents in any given historical moment". Accordingly, we will look at not only the physical development of Boston but "what was important" and, indeed, what should be important to us as we go from here.
Evolution of the Boston Landscape
This is a review and critique of some past, current, and proposed land design projects - real and ideal - from an environmental perspective. There will be a brief review of where Boston is physically and from where the city evolved. You’ll learn about the ideal land design product that would help balance the needs of the human and natural world in the Boston Metropolitan area. Also discussed are past, current, proposed, or theorized projects and how this information can be used for new land designs.
Community Gardens in Boston
This seminar describes how community gardens convert vacant land into valuable uses, revitalize and stabilize neighborhoods, improve public safety, and encourage public-private partnerships. You'll learn about:
- Legal and permanent protection for Boston's community gardens
- Number and location of Boston’s community gardens
- Access to Boston’s community gardens
- Utilization of Boston’s community gardens
- Community gardens as a technique of community building
- Techniques to create permanent stewardship for community gardens
The Influence of Different Ethnicities in Urban Open Spaces
Boston’s culturally diverse populations use and cherish open spaces, being drawn to open spaces that resonate with each population’s practices. This seminar examines community gardens and urban open spaces in Boston and how the culturally diverse groups here use the spaces. You’ll learn about:
- Past open space site plans
- Types of public open spaces
- Ownership and protection of public open spaces
- Culturally diverse groups using public open spaces
- Future trends for open spaces
Greening Boston’s Future
This seminar, using Boston as a case study, covers the contemporary landscape of Boston and how green technology will influence future open space design and planning. The major topics include building parks on brownfields, the safe handling and remediation of urban soil, the development of green roofs, improving storm water management, site planning of buildings for optimum energy efficiency, using low-allergen plantings in high asthma neighborhoods, programming parks to combat childhood obesity and the importance of creating a stewardship culture.
You will learn:
How centuries of change have created the look and location of Boston; Why the geography of Boston has influenced its development; What Boston’s community groups are doing to create urban green spaces for everyone to marvel at and enjoy; How the influx of people from many different countries have helped mold the Boston landscape; and What lies ahead as Boston continues to grow and shape its green spaces.
This course covers the broad palette of plant materials that can be used in an urban setting. You will learn about annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and vines. Plants used in specialized gardens such as rock gardens, water gardens, containers, and xeriscapes are studied as well. The course includes topics such as plant identification, using plants in the landscape, native versus exotic and invasive species, and plant hardiness to a range of environmental conditions.
The experience of a city is the experience of its open spaces. The course deals not only with parks but plazas, boulevards, squares, etc. The goal of this course is to provide students with a framework for their own critical analysis of open space. What makes a good urban space? What would be its qualities of dimensions and form? What makes bad urban space bad? What makes a "space" a "place"? What do we mean by the term "space" anyway? Which spaces have historically become paradigms? At the end of the course students will apply what they have learned to their own respective urban environments.
This course explores the growing impact of landscape architecture on the urban environment. The merger of urban design, landscape architecture and architecture, sometimes referred to as "landscape urbanism", moves beyond the strategic placement of planting material to implications for biodiversity, microclimatology, and ecology. It addresses citywide cultural and ecological concerns. It works across disciplines and emphasizes an understanding of the relationships between natural systems and the cities - between aquatic systems and watersheds, between plants and health. The result is the increasing significance of landscape as a framework for urban form that begins locally and continues at a broader scale. The principles behind and examples of existing urban installations that exemplify this merger of disciplines will be discussed.
The current means of supplying energy to industrial societies are not sustainable. The earth’s petroleum reserves are being consumed at rates which will lead to depletion in the next few decades. Unchecked burning of fossil fuels threatens permanent damage to the environment. Fundamental changes will be required to avert the looming crises. This course will consider our current dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear fission and examine alternative renewable sources of energy, including: solar, wind, hydro, ocean, geothermal, biomass and synfuels and nuclear fusion. We will discuss the scientific and technological issues involved in emerging technologies, such as: the hydrogen economy, electric vehicles, fuel cells, photovoltaic cells, and "green buildings." This course, designed for a general audience, will address one of the most urgent challenges facing an industrial society: providing energy and technology for a sustainable future.