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MUD 2 Studio Final Review (Gruber) - MMCH 303

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Please join us for the final review of our 2nd year Master of Urban Design (MUD) studio on Friday 8 December from 1:00-5:00pm in MMCH 303.

Our current MUD studio entitled Commoning the City is structured as a yearlong project, in which we investigate Urban Design’s agency in relation to the bottom-up transformation of cities—a transformation in which citizens take matters into their own hands and self-organize in shaping an alternative urban future. Thus building on the two foundational Pittsburgh-based design studios in place making and urban systems, the second year of CMU’s MUD program engages in a collective research-based-design project that helps students to position their design practice in a broader societal context that is theoretically informed and politically aware. This positioning unfolds from case study research and the articulation of a hypothesis culminating in an individual design project that acknowledges the balancing act of negotiating top-down planning and the self-organizing behavior of cities.

This Fall semester, taught by Stefan Gruber, focused on researching practices of commoning, and the articulation of an individual thesis and project proposal. The Spring semester, taught by Jonathan Kline, will support students in developing their respective design projects.

The studio is collaborating with ARCH+, Germany’s leading journal for architecture and urbanism, and the IFA, the Institute for Foreign Relations. Together ARCH+ and IFA produced the acclaimed exhibition Post-Oil Cities that has toured on four continents since 2010 and been translated into more than five languages. As research partners and co-curators for the follow-up exhibition, we are contributing to an exhibition and accompanying catalog An Atlas of Commoning that will open next June in Berlin, before traveling to Pittsburgh and beyond.

As part of this collaboration with ARCH+ and IFA, the studio visited Berlin from 14-22 October 2017 for a three-day workshop with ARCH+ and fieldwork on citizen-led architecture and urban design projects that have contributed to the bottom-up transformation of Berlin since the fall of the Wall. As a studio, this fall we laid the foundation for an “Atlas of Commoning” assembling international case studies that critically explore practices of urban commoning. The Atlas is conceived as a growing repository that will grow as the exhibition travels around the world. But the collective case studies also provided a foundation for the articulation of individual theses by Ernest Bellamy, Tamara Cartwright, Yidan Gong, Paul Moscoso Riofrio, ChunZheng and Lu Zhu, to be elaborated in the following Spring semester.

Thus the review on Friday 8 December 2017 presents an opportunity to discuss our research contribution to the exhibition, the individual thesis proposals, and more broadly, the role that practices of commoning might have on the future of the discipline of Urban Design and cities at large. We would be grateful if you could join us for this discussion.