Urban Sprawl – Boston GLE

It has been almost one year since I made the decision to pursue a Master in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. One of the most important reasons why I chose to this institution was the opportunity to become part of a network of fiercely motivated individuals who are ready to learn from each other in order to design better cities, to create better mobility and more accessibility, to plan healthier living, working and playing spaces, and to do this while remaining critically conscious of the cultural, racial, and class divides that pose challenges to these goals.

Tomorrow I will be joining Boston’s Global Leadership Experience (GLE), a program carried out in academic hubs throughout the world that presents a different challenge every year. Throughout the week we will be discussing the challenge of preventing urban sprawl throughout the world, focusing on how the city of Boston has dealt with its own sprawl in terms of planning, transportation, health, employment, housing, and crime, to name a few.

The theme of this challenge is closely related to topics that have been on my mind for a while—questions regarding the right way for cities to grow. Are super-dense, high rise buildings the answer for the increased desire to live closer to city centers? How do we rethink the single-family house in a society where families are becoming smaller and housing needs in cities are rising? What is the smart way to develop housing areas so that they do not become residential islands? What is the role of architects and urban planners in these matters? How can they prevent short-sighted investment and development from companies and organizations that may have the capital but not the vision?

I am looking forward to the start of the program and will keep updating as my thoughts and ideas develop with my fellow GLE participants and leaders.