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Online Course

Site Planning Online

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX

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Overview

Cities are built site by site.

Site planning has been taught in urban planning, landscape architecture and architecture programs for over a century and continues to be a foundation course for those who aspire to plan the built environment.  It is a required subject on licensing and certification programs for each of these disciplines. 

Mastering the art of site planning requires substantive knowledge, well-honed design skills, and familiarity with examples and prototypes of site organization.

This course provides the perspectives of leading academics and practitioners on the important issues in preparing site plans.  It offers a foundation of knowledge, and the opportunity to apply what is learned in preparing a site plan.

Syllabus

The course is organized in 10 one-week units, each containing 3-6 video learning modules.  Each module is presented by an expert in the area being covered:  Gary Hack, Mary Anne Ocampo, Brent Ryan, Dennis Frenchman, Shail Joshi, Zhuangyuan Fan, Eran Ben-Joseph, Jim Wescoat, Carlo Ratti, Larry Vale, Bob Simha and Tunney Lee of MIT; Dennis Pierprz, Elaine Limmer, Greg Havens and Martin Zogram of Sasaki; and Lynne Sagalyn of Columbia University. 

The topics covered during each week are:
  1. Introduction:  site values; exemplary greenfield and urban sites.
  2. Site analysis:  natural site analysis; man made context of sites; infrastructure capacity; development regulations and policies; sites as property; integrating site knowledge.
  3. Site planning methods:  planning processes; users, stakeholders and the public; economic value of sites; design methods; digital media for design; creating a site proposal.
  4. Site infrastructure:  stormwater management; complete streets; pedestrian realms; water supply and disposal; energy for sites; intelligent infrastructure.
  5. Site concepts and performance:  placemaking; subdivision and site assembly; scoring site performance; impact assessment.
  6. Residential sites:  history of residential sites; typology of housing forms; housing and community design; dense residential sites.
  7. Places for commerce and work:  prototypes for shopping; future workplaces; innovation zones; planning for e-commerce.
  8. Places for recreation and culture:  Landscape structure; urban public spaces; human development and play; cultural districts.
  9. College and university planning:  types of universities; campus form and communication; new campuses; networked campuses; planning for adaptability.
  10. Planning communities:  mixed use development; new communities; the future of communities; concluding remarks.
Students will be examined in 4 quizzes about their comprehension of the materials covered.

In addition to viewing the modules, students will have the opportunity to prepare a site plan in three stages:  a site analysis (3 weeks); a program and concept plan (4 weeks) and a detailed plan for part of the public domain of a site (3 weeks.)  The course will provide basic data on two sites that may be used for this exercise.  Alternatively, students may select a site in their own community and use it for their project.  Or if the course is being taken in parallel with a university level studio or workshop, the results may be submitted for grading and feedback.

Taught by

Gary Hack and Mary Anne Ocampo

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