Students keep a journal throughout the semester, submitted in weekly installments posted as a blog (via email for the first few weeks). For the first part of the semester, the journal is a place to reflect on readings and class discussions. Submitted prior to class as blogs accessible to all students, the journals mark the beginning of a dialogue which is then continued during class. During the latter part of the semester, journals also provide constructive criticism on student presentations.

Case Studies: Research Paper and Final Presentation

Early in the semester, students must identify one or more cases that will be the subject of their research paper. The case(s) must represent an urban project (building or landscape or system), plan, or policy that represents a successful adaptation to the natural environment; it may be at the scale of a building, city, region, or nation. The case(s) may be historical or an example of contemporary theory and practice; it should reflect each student's interests and may relate closely to a thesis or studio. The choice of case and topic is made and developed in consultation with the instructor.

The abstract, presentation, and final Web essay represent 40% of the final grade.

Identify a Topic

By the middle of Week 3, you should identify a topic and / or a case that you want to research. Together, we will further define the topic and discuss potential cases and readings.

Title, Abstract, and Bibliography

By the sixth week of class, students must submit a title, abstract, and bibliography (about one page in all). The abstract should describe the case(s) you will be investigating and put it in the context of the issues / ideas you plan to address and the questions you hope to answer. Include a preliminary bibliography. Don't worry if you are still shaping the topic. As your research proceeds, the subject and scope will become more clear and focused. Writing a description early in the process will help you formulate what you hope to accomplish and what research you will need to do, where.


We will finalize the presentation dates in class in Week 8.

Within two weeks of your presentation, please schedule a meeting with the course instructor to review your progress, discuss how to narrow the topic and / or put it into a broader context, and how to best present your findings.

The presentation may be in Powerpoint or from your website.

Final Web Essay

The final presentation of your case is on a website (see work from previous years). Your website is due online two weeks after your presentation in class in order to provide time to incorporate suggestions and critique during and after the presentation.

Examples of student projects