Informal Cities Workshop led by Urban-Think Tank founder Alfredo Brillembourg and professor John Hoal.

The three-semester MUD curriculum is centered on a core sequence of three studios through which students develop the skills to make design proposals for a diverse range of urban conditions within the contemporary metropolitan landscape.

The first studio, Metropolitan Design Elements, takes place in the fall and introduces the theories, concepts, and principles of urban design across the urban transect through speculative exercises that explore contemporary metropolitan conditions in and around the St. Louis region. Students focus on infrastructural and ecological urbanism with the aim to develop urban design projects at the intra-district scale. Required field trips to U.S. cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Boston, provide opportunities for immersive study, organized fieldwork, and exposure to practitioners, agencies, and stakeholders in the city of study.

In the spring, the Lively City Studio engages the scale of the district and the design of public space while more fully considering the public policy, cultural, economic, and real estate conditions of cities. This studio introduces students to the immense intellectual, creative, and cultural resources of large, growing North American cities. Cities previously studied include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto. During the required spring break masterclass, students travel to a major city in Europe to study how public space has been redesigned to increase urban vitality, make humane, people-centered environments, and foster the redevelopment of city life. Cities investigated include Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmo, London, Rotterdam, and Berlin. This workshop develops a detailed knowledge of the public life/public space research and design methodology and its applicability to the practice of urban design.

The studio sequence culminates in the required degree project, Global Urbanism Action-Research Studio: an immersive, 14-week experience in mutiple global cities. Each year the studio selects a fast-growing city in Asia, Africa, or South America to compare and contrast with other relevant global cities. These selected global cities are marked by an active culture and lively arts and design scene; their urban fabric is challenged by rapid growth, environmental stress, social complexity, and the need for a new approach to urbanism. Recent studios have been located in Mexico City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Dubai. This studio begins with three weeks of research and study, followed by six to eight weeks immersed in the selected cities--living, researching, observing, and working on the urban design project.

The summer Global Urbanism studio also builds upon the required fall break masterclass, which is focused on the study of informal cities. This sequence is intended to prepare students for a rapidly urbanizing world where they will be developing projects with different relevant strategies and design approaches for cities which have hybrid conditions of formal and informal urbanism. This studio is further supported by lectures on the history, theory, and methods of global urbanism, and a robust visiting international guest lecturer program that provides valuable local insight into the cultural, artistic, and social conditions of the city. The studio culminates in the publication of a studio research and design report that is focused on studying a series of global cities in comparative perspective, with each student creating a particular and site specific proposition within one of the cities studied.

In addition to the required studio sequence and masterclasses, students are introduced to urban design history, theory, concepts, and principles. In their studies, students develop the necessary analytical, research, and representational techniques to support their ability to interpret, represent, and design the contemporary urban landscape. These courses explore basic concepts in the history and theory of urbanism; environmental and infrastructure systems; landscape ecology; urban development and public policy; economic and real estate development; and sustainable urban design.

– Metropolitan Urbanism
– Metropolitan Development
– Metropolitan Sustainability

Students have the opportunity to establish areas of concentration through three urban design electives in related areas within the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design including the Schools of Law, Business, Engineering, and Social Work, as well as the Institute for Public Health. With faculty approval, students can craft an individualized experiece according to their interests and needs through the combination of electives.