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 metropolitan landscape.

The first studio, Elements of Urban Design, takes place in the fall and introduces sustainable urban design concepts through theoretical and speculative exercises that explore contemporary metropolitan conditions in and around the St. Louis region. Students focus on infrastructural urbanism at the regional scale and the natural and built systems of the urban landscape while developing projects at the intra-district scale. Field trips to U.S. cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Charleston, Baltimore, and Boston allow students to research precedents and investigate important historical urban morphologies and legacy cities.

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. Using a public life/public space research and design methodology, this studio introduces students to the immense intellectual and cultural resources of large North American cities through project sites in locations such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, and Toronto.

During the summer semester, the studio sequence culminates in the Global Urbanism Studio, an immersive 12-week experience. Each year the studio selects a fast-growing city in Asia, Africa, or South America to compare and contrast with an American city. These 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 sited in Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Dubai.

Additional Course Work

In addition to the studio sequence, students are introduced to urban design research techniques through three required courses that support their ability to interpret and represent contemporary urbanization:
– Metropolitan Urbanism
– Metropolitan Development
– Metropolitan Sustainability

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.

Students have the opportunity to establish areas of concentration through two urban electives and one free elective in related areas within the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and the University at large, including the schools of Law, Business, Engineering, and Social Work as well as the Institute for Public Health.