Civic Dreams, Human Spaces

Fall 2015
Studio 1
4 units
Letter Grade

Cities are dynamic environments featuring a multitude of lives, livelihoods, and creative possibilities. In particular, a city’s public spaces—given their shared nature, daily contact with citizens, and the role they play in the popular imagination—represent opportunities for human-centered design and civic innovation.

In this course, we will explore the principles underlying vibrant public spaces, utilizing a wide array of tools for observing and prototyping, while seeking new sources of inspiration to inform the process of urban development. We decode public spaces from multiple perspectives: as sites of recreation, interaction, and political contention; as physical infrastructure that municipalities or grassroots citizen efforts build and maintain for the common good; and as places with intangible qualities, such as historical memory, identity, and personal stories.
The course includes public space design projects with the City of San Francisco to more deeply understand the urban fabric and to enhance social benefits provided to real-world places.
We will practice ethical approaches, using frameworks that are inclusive (for many) and participatory (by many), and strive to benefit human beings and their diverse communities. Through this experience, students learn to design with creativity, with social commitment, and with deliberation.


Accepting 20-25 students. Graduate and undergraduate students encouraged to apply.
Application closed

Teaching Team
Deland Chan, Urban Studies
Kevin Hsu, Disney Research
Kursat Ozenc, Autodesk
Maryanna Rogers,


Civic Dreams, Human Spaces