ADV 9150: Multiple Miamis Project-based Course: Infrastructure, Affordability, Identity + the Public

The Miami hybrid project-based course + studio is part of a series of courses funded through the Knight Foundation that addresses contemporary challenges facing the American city. These range from infrastructure and accessibility to housing and commercial affordability, questions of cultural identity and urban civics to the dictates of climate change and adaptation, and struggles for a more inclusive and diverse public realm.

The project-based seminar course (together with the “sister” Miami studio) will focus on the Overtown neighborhood near downtown Miami. Among the oldest neighborhoods of the city-region, it is home to a predominantly African-American population partly rooted in historic waves of migration. The source of skilled labor and cultural vitality through Miami’s rapid growth, Overtown has also been a target of racial discrimination, violence, and dispossession. Following decades of redlining and segregation, its vibrant commercial and entertainment district and residential neighborhoods were decimated by two interstate highway projects in the 1960s. As Miami transitioned into a major global hub for capital, innovation, and tourism in subsequent decades, Overtown experienced overwhelming public and private disinvestment, police surveillance, and mass incarceration of its populace. Today, the effects of real estate speculation and boom, together with climate change and sea level rise, compound pressures on the neighborhood. That parts of Overtown are served by the Miami MetroRail, spatially proximate to the city’s premier cultural and medical institutions, and sit on high/dry ground poses both acute tensions and transformative opportunities.

Centering the neighborhood of Overtown in exploring questions about Miami’s future as an American city, the hybrid project-based course + studio will grapple with and challenge its hitherto fragmented development pathways and sociospatial realities. Students will develop multi-disciplinary spatial strategies and design and planning proposals for re-imagining a Miami that reckon with its multiple, conflicted pasts; recognize its full and diverse citizenry; and suggest new possibilities for living in the contemporary American city. Projects may focus on questions of housing and public space; on infrastructure and productive landscapes; on anchor institution-based neighborhood regeneration and shared wealth creation strategies; and on access and mobility in relationship to just and equitable development strategies. Work from the course will be published in a GSD-produced Studio Report and will tentatively be presented and displayed in Miami in Spring 2019.

Led by Lily Song, the project-based course (seminar, 4-units) primarily caters to planning and MDes students and will be run alongside the design studio (8-units), which will be led by Chris Reed and Sean Canty. It is intended to facilitate policy and planning proposals by planning and MDes students alongside the more design-based proposals of the studio. As three co-instructors grounded in different disciplines within the GSD but with a shared commitment to meaningfully engaging the interests and skills of the different disciplines, we have proposed the hybrid project-based seminar + studio model to promote more interdisciplinary and generative learning and studio outcomes.


Lily Song







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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2019-2020 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

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