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The City Keeps the Score

Please vote for your top three option studio choices here

Survey opens October 18th, 2021 and closes at 5:00 p.m. on October 21st

The City Keeps the Score

“The City Keeps the Score” decenters the normative rule of cities and discolonizes the symbolic meaning of urban design’s exclusionary tactics to recover from Anthropogenic global warming. The urban design studio asks students to investigate, analyze, and create innovative infrastructures and approaches to planning that respond to the driving question: “how will the city keep the score?” The focus is on how Midwestern cities are actively being reshaped, adapted, manipulated, and appropriated explicitly in response to global, urban trauma. Students will respond to the question through the following course objectives: One: Climate change is affecting coastal communities around the world. Our studio will prioritize identifying opportunities and barriers for the resulting transnational population flows into the Midwest. Two: Recovery in urban design is measured through people. Our studio will identify alternative infrastructures and incremental, culturally relevant interventions that address the unique needs of migrants, immigrants, refugees and their families coping with trauma in a new homeland. Three: Inclusive design is only possible by successfully translating across barriers, eg. designers observe urban contexts, meet with clients and stakeholders, and share ideas through representations like models and drawings. Our studio will generate new, creative communication assets to aid Midwest cities recovering from urban trauma caused by chronic and stochastic change. The studio involves relevant readings and research, mapping and analysis, field trips, collaborative inquiry, multiple design challenge proposals, and the development a final urban design intervention or system across multiple scales and phasing.

Course Credit
  • 6
Iowa State University Innovate @ Iowa State
  • Social Entrepreneurship
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • No Poverty
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Climate Action
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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Will this course be cross-listed?


If yes, what course?

L A 604 and URB D 501

Days/times for the course

Tu Th 9:00 - 1:50

Field trip locations

TBD, Domestic

Field trip schedule


Suggested course fee

$25 - $850

Course fee justification

Course fee covers costs of domestic group travel and any materials needed for community presentations.

Teaching faculty name(s)

Benjamin Shirtcliff

All ISU Majors
  • Seniors and graduate students
Maximum enrollment