MS Design and Urban Ecologies, MA Theories of Urban Practice, and MA Design Studies at Parsons

MS Design and Urban Ecologies, MA Theories of Urban Practice, and MA Design Studies at Parsons

Parsons The New School for Design has announced three new graduate programs: a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies, a Master of Arts in Theories of Urban Practice, and a Master of Arts in Design Studies. The programs represent a wider initiative at Parsons, one of the world's leading schools of art and design, to offer graduate programs that define the next phase of global design. The programs will launch in Fall 2012.

"Throughout its history, Parsons has introduced innovative academic programs on the leading edge of design education, which offer students critical, creative and relevant ways to study art and design. These graduate programs represent the next phase of this evolution," said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons. "The proliferation and growing complexity of cities necessitate new and cross-disciplinary approaches to design, which is reflected in our new Urban programs. The Design Studies program will enable practitioners and scholars alike to take a critical look at design and its place in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world."

Parsons Urban

The first graduate program of its kind in the United States, the Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies will explore the development of urban space and its social, economic, political and environmental context. Bringing together the academic strengths of Parsons and other divisions of The New School, this practice-oriented, studio-based graduate program trains students to become agents of change, working with the communities and institutions that shape cities. Guided by urban activists from around the world, students confront urgent problems facing cities and develop pioneering research methodologies, design frameworks, and critical practices. The program is aimed at urbanists, design and planning professionals, social scientists, community leaders, and managers of nonprofit and government organizations that wish to critically address issues of contemporary urbanization. The program is directed by Miguel Robles-Duran, a practicing urbanist and urban theory educator, co-editor/author of the book Urban Asymmetries: Studies and Projects on Neoliberal Urbanization and co-founder of Cohabitation Strategies, an international foundation/cooperative focused on the design of interventions and strategies in conditions of urban decline, inequality and segregation.

The Master of Arts in Theories of Urban Practice radically reframes the study of urbanism and urban design as transformative practices that draw on an expanding body of knowledge, research, and action. The basic premise is that specific types of critical knowledge and creative thinking can transform cities in fundamental ways. This research-driven program is designed for students who wish to pursue advanced studies in urbanism or careers as urban researchers, designers, teachers, design critics, policy advisors, and leaders of nonprofit organizations, public agencies, private design and development firms, and innovative collaborative practices. The program is directed by Aseem Inam, an award-winning designer, urbanist, and author of the book Planning for the Unplanned: Recovering from Crises in Megacities, a comparative analysis of successful city rebuilding in Los Angeles, Mexico City and New York.

Both programs are based in the School of Design Strategies (SDS) at Parsons, which encompasses innovative programs that apply design thinking to study the intersection of cities, services and ecosystems. In connection with the launch of the new programs, SDS is hosting a free public lecture series, the Design and Urban Practice Colloquium, on select Wednesdays through November 30 - featuring designers and civic leaders working on transformative urban projects around the world. Upcoming lecturers include Paul White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives (Oct. 19); Dr. Maher Stino and Dr. Laila El-Masry Stino, landscape designers of the award-winning Al-Azhar Park in Cairo (Oct. 26); Claudius Pereira and Fernando Lara, who led the redesign of the Vila Viva Favela in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Nov. 2); Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line (Nov. 16); and Arif Hasan, architect, planner, and consultant and chair of the Urban Resource Centre in Karachi, on the Orangi Pilot Project, winner of a World Habitat Award (Nov. 30).

Design Studies
The Master of Arts in Design Studies will shape a new generation of thinkers to critically address historical, philosophical, and social issues related to design practices, products, and discourses. The program is geared toward those seeking to pursue a career in design research, writing, curating, consulting, or criticism, as well as designers seeking to incorporate design research into their practice. It is based in the School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT) at Parsons, alongside related Master of Arts programs in Fashion Studies and the History of Decorative Arts and Design, and students are encouraged to take courses throughout all three programs. ADHT programs reflect the expertise of its faculty in areas such as art and design methodology and philosophy, design criticism, cultural anthropology, sustainability research, and spatial, visual, and material culture studies. All three programs benefit from the extensive resources of Parsons and The New School. The program is directed by David Brody, an expert in material culture, visual culture and design studies, and co-editor (with Hazel Clark) of Design Studies: A Reader.

Parsons The New School for Design