The Urban Works Agency is an advanced research lab at the California College of the Arts that focuses on contemporary issues at the intersection of urbanism, landscape, and architecture. Co-directed by Neeraj Bhatia and Christopher Roach, The Urban Works Agency is the successor to the URBANlab, which was initiated at CCA in 2008 by Mona El Khafif. Over five years of directing the lab, El Khafif oversaw urban studios and seminars. She initiated a series of research projects, panel discussions, and workshops dedicated to digital cartographies and launched the City 1:1 initiative. This series of design-build projects and exhibitions include 10×10 Cities in cooperation with the AIA, OPspace, iLounge, The 10 Mile Garden, and InstantPlayground. These projects had been presented at the San Jose Biennial and the Urban Prototyping event in San Francisco.
While it is a great loss to have El Khafif move on to another institution, we are excited to see the design-research projects she is undertaking at The University of Waterloo’s DATAlab, co-directed by Maya Przybylski and Mona El Khafif.
The Urban Works Agency builds on this legacy of work while re-centering focus to issues of design agency in urbanism. This shift aligns with a recently launched MAAD Urban Works Degree — a Master of Advanced Architectural Design post-professional degree with a concentration in urbanism and landscape architecture at CCA. The Urban Works post-professional program draws upon the entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco and the Bay Area to engage students as active agents in forming a product that has a direct or indirect effect on the city.
Current projects by the Urban Works Agency include:
— The Agent: A semi-annual interview series publication
— The Petropolis of Tomorrow: A research platform examining the relationship between urbanism and resource extraction
— Urbanism from Within: A study on strategies for diffuse density for domestic space.
For more information The Urban Works Agency: urbanworks.cca.edu
For more information on MAAD Urban Works: https://www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/maad/urbanism
For more information on DATAlab: http://datalab.uwaterloo.ca/