Meet the Chair
Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL)
Chair: Mona El Khafif
My goal for the Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL) program is to foster synergies and give our students the tools to become leaders in our field. The MAUDL will create a hub for students, researchers, faculty, and professionals to develop a new synthetic approach to urbanism.
It is my mission to create an optimal educational environment in which to prepare professionals to confront the challenges and opportunities of the current moment and participate in the next great paradigm shift in urban design.
Why the Need for MAUDL?
The great paradox confronting architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture at the moment is that we are blessed with an expanding array of digital resources, while confronting environmental resources that are becoming more stringently limited.
According to Google, every two days we produce as much digital data as did all of our ancestors over the past 5,000 years. At the same time, urbanization is rapidly accelerating.
As reported by the London School of Economics, by 2050 more than 75 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas. That represents 25 percent global urban growth over a period of 40 years.
This growth, taking place without any kind of framework to direct it, is placing an unprecedented strain on our environment, requiring new design tools that can radically redirect our professional approach.
When we consider ongoing global trends such as climate change, water and resource scarcity, and the economic crisis, it becomes self-evident this century is in need of a paradigm shift.
Timely Careers in Architecture
There has never been a more interesting time to be an architect, urban designer, or landscape architect. When I graduated I wanted to help design a better world, and even though I had the opportunity to work on extremely important urban projects in Vienna, I found myself distracted by the day-to-day concerns of professional practice.
I decided to move and apply for an academic position that would allow me to do advanced doctoral research in urban design.
I taught for many years in Europe and the United States, understanding that doing critical design research and educating students are extremely important steps toward “designing a better world.”
The new MAUDL program at CCA will train the next generation of leaders by exposing graduate students to emerging critical theory and design practices, while articulating a unique synthetic approach to urbanism.
Architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture -- traditionally taught as discrete disciplines that work in distinct territories -- are merged in our new program, which will extract important tools and skills of each discipline.
The program pushes the boundaries of our profession in order to train students to design cities that are driven by sustainable metabolisms supporting social life and culture.
The program exposes students to both global and local scales of operation. Students learn to use data visualization software to read and interpret digital data and parametric tools to test spatial, economic, and environmental scenarios.
Bay Area Advantage
A professional network located in the San Francisco Bay Area offers students in the program the opportunity to link up with the professional practice.
The CCA URBANlab, which has run a series of successful projects since its inception in 2008, operates as an incubator supporting the MAUDL program with research projects, symposia, workshops, and exhibitions. Such events allow students in the program to participate in an ongoing dialogue and to work on research and design questions arising from academia.
This century is driven by design questions: How can we design a city that is not only consuming but also producing energy resources and water? What have we missed so far? Or what is the research that will convince society that design, which traverses multiple scales and disciplines can really make a difference?
One of the most important tasks of urban designers in this era is asking the right questions, and the goal of this program is to enable rigorous, productive inquiry and vibrant curiosity.
The architecture division also offers the following degree programs: