The MAS ETH UD is structured around an investigation of transforming urban conditions as they pertain to global phenomena, and the development of practical tools for operating within such domains.
Global economic processes rapidly change our urban peripheries, seemingly beyond the intervention of planning and urban design. The pace of urbanization has exceeded many developing cities‘ capacities to absorb the needs of a growing population, despite all efforts in providing low-cost housing through formal markets. With more than 1 billion people housed in sub-standard homes, about one third of the world‘s total urban population is living in inadequate conditions. Whereas formal production markets do not meet the needs of emergent urbanized regions, self-organization and auto-construction have proven to be efficient strategies for low-income households.
Worldwide tendencies toward processes of urbanization demand research methods that promote both critical comparative analysis and the capacity to develop constructive approaches to such areas. Case studies addressing such conditions will be taken from both developing and developed countries, with the aim of understanding how to intervene and capitalize on processes and patterns of transformation common to both. Emphasis will be placed on the role of urban design as a key discipline in the formation of sustainably built environments.
The one-year program focuses on the development of design-tools appropriate for interacting in processes of large-scale urbanization in developing territories. With an emphasis on design practice, students are taught to develop project proposals that translate theoretical and applied research into feasible urban interventions.
The program aims at developing a culture of urban research and design that will enable the participants to actively engage in envisioning future urban scenarios. Secondly, a strong emphasis is put on methodology, process design and communication in order to prepare for the interdisciplinary negotiating agenda of the urban designer as a future member of professional design offices, academic research teams, public services or communication agencies.
From 2010 to 2013 the MAS program was focused on informal urbanization processes in the Brazilian metropolises, notably in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The MAS studio was engaged in collaborations with local authorities aimed at the realization of projects that have been developed during the semester.
Website MAS ETH in Urban Design