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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Constructed Environments
Department: Constructed Environments
Course Number: PSCE 5035
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
“Water, Water everywhere...(yet not) a drop to drink”? Artists, designers, scientists, economists, lawyers, religious leaders, politicians, educators, students—they all have something to say about water and its relation to energy, our stuff, air and the way we live. But which group knows what they are talking about. The focus of this activist seminar is the tangled ecological and social conditions of the Hudson and Delaware Valley Watersheds within the dynamic systems of the Earth as indicative of local, national, and global resource conflicts. One example of these conflicts that we will investigate is the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the future of design. Another is the use of water to release natural gas from shale. This process, known as Hydro-fracking, affects two of the fundamental elements of life – water and energy -- and is linked to global issues about the future viability of the Earth. A third example is our water and energy use on the New School campus. A central question: Are we creating conditions that are transforming water into a life-threatening natural force. Can design create alternative futures? Our goal is to establish an activist teaching-learning space for understanding the current status of water, energy and our life styles. Our exploration will take us out of the classroom to government hearings, grass-roots debates and involve us in staging our own public events. We will use this understanding for the emergence and organization of new possibilities for our relation to the resources that make life possible. We will emphasize process, reflection, internal critique, and activism. We will begin by exploring current problems related to water. Then we will design events to act on our exploration. Our objective is to contribute to the possibilities opening to us if we re-imagine our relation to the conditions for life. Water and its relation to energy, our stuff, and air provide an excellent point of departure for weaving together new ways of imagining in order to reshape social-ecological realities.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Open to: Prerequisites: none