The Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Office for Urbanization draws upon the School’s history of design innovation to address societal and cultural conditions associated with contemporary urbanization. It develops speculative and projective urban scenarios through sponsored design research projects.

The work of the office can be described under the general rubric of design research. Design research is synthetic, incorporating information relative to a particular project from a diverse array of sources. Often characterized by its capacity to organize and visually represent complex arrays of information, design research deploys simulations and scenario-based projections to reveal latent potentials for future conditions. Design research is most often propositional, rather than simply empirical or descriptive. Design research projects stand simultaneously as propositions for intervention in the world, and as a form of knowledge about the world.

The Office imagines alternative and better futures through applied design research. It aspires to reduce the distance between design innovation and societal impact.


  • Mohsen Mostafavi
  • Charles Waldheim
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  • Aziz Barbar
  • Mariano Gomez Luque
  • Christina Burkot
  • Charlie Gaillard
  • Daniel Ibañez
  • Seok Min Yeo
  • Jeffrey S. Nesbit
  • Mercedes Peralta
  • Boya Zhang
  • Research Assistants
  • GSD Faculty
  • External Faculty
  • Partners
  • Alumni
  • Mohsen Mostafavi, architect and educator, is the Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design and served as Dean of the GSD from 2008-2019. His work focuses on modes and processes of urbanization and on the interface between technology and aesthetics. He was formerly Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University and Chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He has taught at numerous institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts (Städelschule). Dean Mostafavi serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the board of the Van Alen Institute, and has served on the design committees of the London Development Agency (LDA) and the RIBA Gold Medal. He is a consultant on a number of international architectural and urban projects. His publications include On Weathering (MIT, 1993); Delayed Space (Princeton, 1994); Approximations (AA/MIT, 2002); Surface Architecture (MIT, 2002);Logique Visuelle (Idea Books, 2003); Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (AA Publications, 2004); Structure as Space (AA Publications, 2006); Ecological Urbanism (Lars Müller Publishers/Harvard GSD, 2010); Implicate & Explicate (Lars Müller Publishers, 2011); and Louis Vuitton: Architecture and Interiors (Rizzoli, 2011).

  • Charles Waldheim is a Canadian-American architect and urbanist. Waldheim is John E. Irving Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and director in the Office for Urbanization. Waldheim’s research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books on these subjects, and his writing has been published and translated internationally. Waldheim is recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome; the Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship at the Study Centre of the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Cullinan Chair at Rice University; and the Sanders Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

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  • Aziz Joseph Barbar is a Lebanese architect and research associate in the Office for Urbanization. Barbar graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a Master in Design Studies in Technology and holds a Bachelor of Architecture with distinction from the Lebanese American University. His experience and research interests focus around topics of computational geometry, automated construction techniques, and data analysis in relation to building performance and urban form. Barbar has taught landscape architecture studios at the GSD. Prior to his work at Harvard, he worked for distinguished architectural and engineering offices in Lebanon and Austria.

  • Mariano Gomez Luque is a post-doctorate fellow in the Office for Urbanization and a practicing architect and urban designer from Argentina. Gomez Luque’s research explores the intersections between architecture and planetary urbanization, with a particular emphasis on the status of architectural form within the cultural imaginaries and extended landscapes of the contemporary urban world.  He holds a Master in Architecture and a Doctor of Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

  • Christina Burkot is an American administrator and the research programs administrator in the Office for Urbanization. Burkot completed her MS in Arts Administration at Boston University, and her BA in Classics at Wesleyan University. Prior to joining the Office, she worked in the Office of Faculty Affairs at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

  • Charlie Gaillard is an American strategist and research assistant in the Office for Urbanization. Gaillard completed his B.A. in English and Art History at Williams College. His work takes place at the intersection of language and visual culture. Prior to joining the Office, he held a position as a strategist at the design consultancy 2×4.

  • Daniel Ibañez is a Spanish architect, urbanist and research fellow in the Office for Urbanization. Ibañez is currently an instructor and doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and researcher at the Urban Theory Lab. He holds an MArch from ETSAM in Madrid, a MAA from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and an MDes in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Ibañez’s research critically seeks to frame the design disciplines in relation to broader socio-ecological interdependencies through cross-disciplinary research on the field of urban metabolism. Daniel is editor several book publications, including New Geographies 06: Grounding Metabolism (HUP, 2014), editor of Third Coast Atlas (Actar, 2016) and the Wood Urbanism: From Molecular to Territorial (forthcoming Actar, 2017). Also, since 2015, Daniel is editor at urbanNext (

  • Seok Min Yeo is a Korean landscape urbanist and research associate at the Office for Urbanization. Yeo completed his MLA at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and his B.Arch at Syracuse University School of Architecture. Yeo’s work explores techniques of understanding and translating ecological phenomena into design methods, with a special interest in the relationship of the sun and the built form of the city. Before coming to Harvard, he held design positions at Payette and Safdie Architects.

  • Jeffrey S. Nesbit is an American architect, urbanist, and postdoctoral research fellow in the Office for Urbanization. His research focuses on processes of urbanization, infrastructure, and the defense landscape. Currently, Nesbit is studying the 20th century spaceport launch complex at the intersection of architecture, aerospace history, and the rise of “technical lands.” He has written several journal articles and book chapters on infrastructure, urbanization, and the history of technology, and is co-editor of Chasing the City: Models for Extra-Urban Investigations (Routledge, 2018), Rio de Janeiro: Urban Expansion and Environment (Routledge, 2019), and New Geographies 11 Extraterrestrial (Actar, 2019).

  • Mercedes Peralta is an Argentinean-Italian architect and research associate in the Office for Urbanization. Mercedes holds an MArch II degree and a Certificate in Media and Modernity from Princeton University in addition to her professional diploma of Architecture from University of Buenos Aires. Mercedes is interested in design approaches that question the relationship between perception, technology, and natural phenomena. Before Harvard, she worked in New York. She was part of the Princeton and Columbia research and design team for Beatriz Colomina’s and Mark Wigley’s Istambul Biennial “Are We Human?” and a presenter at the 2017 ECAADE conference in Rome. Her written work appears in Summa+ Magazine, where she has been a permanent collaborator between 2013 and 2015.

  • Boya Zhang is a Chinese architect and research associate in the Office for Urbanization. Zhang completed his MArch II at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and holds his MArch degree and BArch degree with Distinction from Tsinghua University. Zhang’s research interests focus on the interactions between urban form and its environs shaped by cultural and political forces. Prior to joining the Office, he worked for architectural offices in Beijing, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Boston.

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  • Bert De Jonghe, MDes ’21

    Camila Huber, MLA ’20

    Jaewan Lee, MDes ’21

    Jiangpu Meng, MArch ’21

    Fatma Mhmood, Des ’21

    Sam Naylor, MAUD ’21

    Donald O’Keefe, MArch ’21

    Zhaodi Wang, MLA ’20

    Haoyu Zhao, MLA ’20


  • Iñaki Ábalos, Design Critic in Architecture

    Martin Bechthold, Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology

    Eve Blau, Adjunct Professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design

    Joan Busquets, Martin Bucksbaum Professor in Practice of Urban Planning and Design

    Sean Canty, Design Critic in Architecture

    Preston Scott Cohen, Gerald M. McCue Professor in Architecture

    Felipe Correa, Associate Professor of Urban Design

    Salmaan Craig, Lecturer in Environmental Technology

    Ann Forsyth, Professor of Urban Planning, Director of the Master in Urban Planning Program

    Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design

    Gareth Doherty, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Senior Research Associate

    Sonja Dümpelmann, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

    Rosetta S. Elkin, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

    Teresa Galí-Izard, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

    Jeanne Gang, Professor in Practice of Architecture

    Eric Howeler, Associate Professor of Architecture

    Mariana Ibañez, Associate Professor of Architecture

    Jesse M. Keenan, Lecturer in Architecture

    Grace La, Professor of Architecture

    Christopher C. M. Lee, Associate Professor in Practice of Urban Design

    Sergio Lopez-Pineiro, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture

    David Luberoff, Deputy Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies

    David Mah, Lecturer in Architecture

    Ali Malkawi, Professor of Architectural Technology and Founding Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities

    Toshiko Mori, Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture

    Farshid Moussavi, Professor in Practice of Architecture

    Carles Muro, Design Critic in Architecture

    Richard Peiser, Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate Development

    Robert Pietrusko, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

    Philippe Rahm, Lecturer in Architecture

    Chris Reed, Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture

    Antoine Picon, G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology, Director of Research

    Holly W. Samuelson, Assistant Professor of Architecture

    Andres Sevtsuk, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning

    Susan Snyder, Lecturer in Architecture

    Lily Song, Lecturer and Research Associate

    George E. Thomas, Lecturer in Architecture

    Bing Wang, Associate Professor in Practice of Real Estate and the Built Environment

    Andrew Witt, Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture

  • Leonardo Codina, Universidad de Mendoza

    Lorena Córica PhD., Professor, Universidad de Mendoza

    Tomás Folch, Professor, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

    Stella López Frasca, Professor, Universidad de Mendoza

    Gerald E. Frug, Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

    Thom Mayne, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

    Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

    Maria Jimena Gómez Piovano PhD, Professor, Universidad de Mendoza

    Dwight H. Perkins, Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, Harvard FAS

    Norman Scott, Professor Emeritus, College of Agriculture and Life Science, Cornell University

    Jeannette Sordi, Associate Professor, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

    Ajmal Qureshi, Harvard Asia Center, Former Resident Representative, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

    Felipe Vera, Design Lab, Adolfo Ibañez University

    Kongjian Yu, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Peking University

  • Michael Rock / 2 × 4, New York

    Eric Rodenbeck / Stamen, San Francisco

    Eric de Broche des Combes / Luxigon, Paris

  • Pedro Aparicio, Research Associate

    Sara Favargiotti, Visiting Scholar

    Francesca Romana Forlini, Research Assistant

    Mariano Gomez-Luque, Research Fellow

    Gia Jung, Research Assistant

    Amir Karimpour, Research Assistant

    Mingyu Kim, Research Associate

    Helen Kongsgaard, Research Associate

    Christian Lavista, Research Assistant

    Ting Liang, Research Assistant

    Xun Liu, Research Associate

    Chris Merritt, Research Assistant

    Matthew Moffitt, Research Assistant

    Javier Ors-Austin, Research Assistant

    Fletcher Phillips, Research Assistant

    Daniel Quesada Lombó, Research Associate

    Lane Raffaldini Rubin, Research Assistant

    Christopher Reznich, Research Assistant

    Luciana Saboia, Visiting Scholar

    Ruben Segovia, Research Associate

    Sudeshna Sen, Research Assistant

    Dana Shaikh Solaiman, Research Assistant

    Soo Ran Shin, Research Assistant

    Isabel Strauss, Research Assistant

    Irene Toselli, Visiting Scholar

    Maggie Tsang, Research Assistant

    Ximena de Villafranca, Research Assistant

    Abbey Wallace, Research Assistant

    Zishen Wen, Research Assistant

    Lindsay Woodson, Research Assistant

    Weijia Wu, Research Assistant

    Sofia Xanthakou, Research Assistant

    Jessy Yang, Research Associate

    Erin Yook, Research Assistant

    Xin Zhong, Research Assistant

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