Resilient Communities

3500:
Discipline: School of Architecture
Instructor: Nelson
Credits: 1
Day: C
Start: 1755
End: 1910
Field Work: Day 2-4 - Casablanca - Monday, 24-Wednesday, 26 June | Morocco
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

In 2007, the earth’s population became more urban than rural, launching what some have dubbed the “urban millennium.” The process of rapid urbanization has created myriad challenges for city residents, local leadership, and national governments including massive demands for housing, access to potable water and sanitation, and infrastructure for transportation and energy distribution.  The disruptions associated with rapid urbanization, moreover, are exacerbated by one of the most significant environmental challenges in human history:  climate change.  Our nation’s recent experience with Hurricane Sandy and its impact upon communities along the eastern seaboard graphically illustrated how climate change, rising seawaters and severe weather events threaten coastal communities across the globe.

Few groups will be more affected by climate change than the communities living in the exploding port cities of the global south.  In particular, slum dwellers—who are the poorest of the poor—are anticipated to be the most at risk. They live literally on the edge. Their marginalized status finds them living on riverbanks, next to wetlands, or perched on hazard-prone slopes.  They have little money, little power, and few rights—without secure land or housing tenure they have a tenuous claim to what urban theorists call their “right to the city.”

Communities with the ability to cope with such extreme challenges are often referred to as “resilient”.   The ways in which communities demonstrate resilience and the factors that determine the speed, shape and effectiveness of their responses, however, are varied—influenced by their distinctive social, institutional, environmental, and economic circumstances.

“Resilient Communities” is a one-credit course geared to engaging some of these questions first by reading some theoretical and analytical scholarship on resiliency and then by undertaking some on-site data collection that will serve as a foundation for a long-term longitudinal research project on urban resiliency. The course meets during the first four days of the voyage in preparation for on-site research in Casablanca. Students enrolled in this course will need to reserve the majority of their Morocco visit for data-collection in Casablanca. Students will then meet again during class time for two days immediately following the Morocco visit to begin processing the data and to make preliminary observations. Following a short break, class will convene again during C8 and C9 where each student will propose and revise an independent research project that redirects the data analysis from the Casablanca visit to another site from the voyage. The final project for the class is a written report comparing the data from Casablanca against independent observations from a second site.

Field Work

Country: Morocco
Day: 2-4 - Casablanca - Monday, 24-Wednesday, 26 June

The course meets during the first four days of the voyage in preparation for on-site research in Casablanca. Students enrolled in this course will need to reserve the majority of their Morocco visit for data-collection in Casablanca. Students will then meet again during class time for two days immediately following the Morocco visit to begin processing the data and to make preliminary observations.