News | February 22nd 2016

CBT Kicks-Off Urban Design Studio at Roger Williams University

CBT is pleased to serve as a Teaching Firm in Residence at Roger Williams University’s School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation this winter and spring. Founded in 2007, the Teaching firm in Residence program invites nationally and internationally recognized design firms to develop and instruct a semester-long studio on a topic of their choosing. As part of this unique program, CBT’s principal and director of urban design Kishore Varanasi and senior designer Sae Kim will teach an urban scale studio focused on the design implications and opportunities of the emerging sharing economy. 

A powerful new paradigm, the sharing economy is already significantly shifting human behavior and adding new layers of complexity and variability to the form and function of urban environments. However, cities have the unique opportunity to not just react to such forces, but to also grow and guide them. With the promise of more efficient public and private transportation, new milestones for renewable energies and an increasingly digitalized and personalized city experience, today’s urban planners, designers and decision makers must strive to not only keep up with the times but also to guide them.

Through a series of urban mapping exercises, class-wide discussions, scenario development projects and intensive research and analysis, Varanasi and Kim will encourage students to tackle the following big questions: 

  • How is the sharing economy changing the way we use and experience the city?
  • How are urban planning and urban design addressing new technologies and the sharing economy?
  • How can the urban form advance social and economic innovation? 

Varanasi and Kim will offer students a truly immersive learning experience by conducting frequent discussions and desk critiques at Roger Williams University while also inviting students to CBT’s Boston office for periodic tours, guest lectures and firm-wide reviews. Varanasi and Kim will be regularly joined in the classroom by colleagues David Nagahiro, Virendra Kallianpur, Adam Cuomo, Hankyu Kim, Devanshi Purohit, Kristina Ricco, Yichen Zhu and Julia McElhinney, adding additional depth and perspective to the student’s understanding of urban design and exploration of the sharing economy.