Resilient Urbanism





Masoud, Fadi. (ed) “Terra-Sorta-Firma: Reclaiming the Littoral Gradient.”
Actar: Barcelona – New York (Forthcoming 2021)

Terra-Sorta-Firma: Developing the Littoral Gradient is a critical and interdisciplinary exploration of a continuously urbanizing and expanding littoral edge. The illustrated and edited volume documents urban waterfronts on “reclaimed” land and examines these pervasive environments through their dynamic past and uncertain future. For centuries, cities expanded onto previously saturated grounds; “reclaiming” land from estuaries, mangroves, and sea-beds. Today, the majority of global populations live along a continuously urbanizing and expanding coastline. While these artificial coastlines are sites of tremendous real-estate, civic, and infrastructural investments, they are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As such, the precarity of this expansion is dramatically increased by the method in which it is constructed.

Terra-Sorta-Firma renders visible the ubiquity of this condition as the very first act of understanding the endemically dynamic nature of coastlines and their uncertain future. The five parts of the book question urbanism’s political, economic, and physical relationship to land in a permanent state of flux. It challenges designers, developers, policymaker, engineers, and urbanists to reconsider the design and construction of land itself, and to re-imagine this most fundamental of all infrastructures along gradients of inundation. Developing reclaimed coastal lands has become a precarious form of urban expansion in the 21st century. As such, this project questions urbanism’s inherit political and physical binary relationship to wet and dry grounds in search of a new understanding of land in a state of permanent flux. The book explores these ubiquitous waterfront environments through their past, present, and future conditions, and documents their global extent by providing a framework for comparison across geographies and histories.  The contributing essays cross fields of design, planning, geography, geology, economics, and anthropology.

The first part of the book maps and documents the recent scarcity of sand and its global trade network (Vince Beiser and Atelier NL). The Atlas, at the core of the book, includes 50+ historic and contemporary tracings such as Beemster (Netherlands), the Back-Bay (Boston), Battery Park (New York City), Victoria Harbour (Hong Kong), The Palm Islands (UAE), Flamengo Park (Rio de Janeiro) and Qianhai (Shenzhen). The Atlas illustrates the progression of each site, tracing it back from its current condition to its original hydrological state pre-infill - highlighting each district’s socio-economic, tectonic, architectural, infrastructural, and cultural contexts. The maps are categorized under the headings of “Claiming Territory”, “Historic and Geologic Necessity”, “Flamboyant Real-Estate”, “Landscaped Brownfields,” and “From Blue-Collar to Brown Water”.  The latter part of the book discusses the magnitude of the global urban littoral condition in the Anthropocene, confronting the human impulse to construct fixed spaces in places of constant flux.

The concluding essays foreground the projective requisites of climate adaptation in the future design of “resilient” littoral landscapes of reclamation.   While there is a growing number of texts on the imminent environmental risks associated with climate change on coastal cities, this book acts as an opportunistic manual for adaptation. It challenges designers and urbanists to reconsider the design and construction of land itself along a gradient of inundation. Ultimately asking, how can we preemptively re-write our policies, structure our economies, manage our resources, and dynamically design these suffused grounds we continue to create and inhabit?


Innate Terrain

Masoud, Fadi, Matthew Spremulli, and Shadi Ramos. “Technology Driven Shift in the Digital Representation of Landscape Architecture.” In Innate Terrain (editor Alissa North) Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2021). “Forthcoming”

The relationship between landscape architecture and technology is inherently tied to the processes, methods and outcomes of landscape architectural representation. The way we measure, perceive, design, and ultimately construct landscapes is intertwined with diverse modes of representation and communication. Originating with the pictorial gaze that once dominated the image and perception of landscape through painting, the effects of technological advancement on landscape architecture has been profound. Technology has allowed time to be folded into the representation of landscape architecture. As technology develops, designers increasingly have access to more accurate simulations of dynamic systems, from geology and hydrology to plant growth, and from economic market trends to maintenance regimes of landscapes in different time scales, seasons, and conditions. Our understanding of time benefits from, and is created through, software’s technological abilities to generate complex temporal patterns previously viewed as static or reductive representations that are planometric or perspectival. Using animation, film, and image sequencing, the parameter of time becomes an accessible design element, able to generate scenarios and narratives made possible through technology. This chapter explores how digital representation, shaped through the advent of technology, continues to influence landscape architecture practice and pedagogy. More precisely, it highlights the contributions of Canadian institutions and universities in digital landscape representation. This dialogue captures a snapshot of the academic environment related to digital technologies and representation, compiled with selected platforms provided by seven Canadian universities with graduate or undergraduate courses in landscape architecture.

Landscape: For Illustration Purposes Only

Masoud, Fadi, “Landscape: “For Illustration Purposes Only” in Conceptual Landscapes: critical perspectives in the earliest stages of design: edited by Simon Bussiere.  
Routledge (2021) “Forthcoming”

The collection of work in Conceptual Landscapes: critical perspectives in the earliest stages of design: edited by Simon Bussiere explores the dilemma faced in the early moments of conceptual thinking through a gradient of work in landscape and environmental design media by both emerging and well-established designers and teachers of landscape architecture. The book deconstructs the process of conceptual design for each chapter author in order to reignite pedagogical discussions about timing and design fundamentals, and also to reveal how the spark of an idea happens from a range of unique perspectives. Through a careful arrangement of visual essays that integrate analogue, digital and mixed-media works and processes, the book highlights differences between diverse techniques and triggers debate between design, representation, technology and creative culture in the field. Taken together, the book’s visual investigation of the conceptual design process serves as a learning tool for aspiring designers and seasoned professionals alike.

Zoning Resilience

Masoud, Fadi, Vega-Barchaowitz, David “Zoning Resilience: From “End-State” Planning to Zoning for Uncertainty” in Adaptation Blueprints: edited by Carolyn Kousky, Billy Fleming, and Alan Berger.  
Island Press (2020) “Forthcoming”

Adaptation Blueprints is a book that is designed to generate new ideas for research, practice, and policy development related to coastal climate adaptation (Forthcoming Island Press). The goals of the book project are threefold: 1) reimagine coastal communities that would be resilient and adaptive to changing conditions; 2) identify insights from research that can be incorporated into novel policy approaches and suggest creative new regulatory and planning tools; 3) inventory unmet needs of state and local leaders to develop a bold and relevant new cross-disciplinary research and policy agenda.  It starts from the premise that our traditional land use, regulatory, and risk management policies and programs assume—at least implicitly—that land is permanent, property rights are in perpetuity, and risk is unchanging. Coastal areas, however, are dynamic places and the framework through which they have been shaped—by design, policy, and markets—over the last half-century is in dire need of transformation. Beaches grow and are worn away. Sea level is rising. Populations and development are increasing. Climate change is altering storm patterns. Nonetheless, our policies, and just as importantly, the expectations of residents, may not reflect these changing conditions. Some novel approaches to incorporate the dynamics of coastal areas are now being tested, but many have met with resistance. Innovation is needed.

Developing the Littoral Gradient...

Masoud, Fadi, El-Shayeb, Hadi, “Developing the Littoral Gradient” in Seascape Handbook. Edited by Gloria Pungetti, Routledge (2020)  Submitted: Under Review

The Seascape Handbook is a comprehensive vision of the several topics related to seascapes. This handbook aims to cover this gap with a holistic perspective on the subject,offering a sound foundation on the concept of seascape and providing the latest research findings of world leading experts.  The contents of the handbook will cover most of the aspects common to the different seascape facets, to provide a coherent concept that can be easily understood by a variety of readers, from scholars to students, practitioners and the general public. It covers both natural and cultural aspects of seascape, it considers people perceptions, memories and histories, and it includes social, cultural and artistic perspectives that are of common interest also for the wider public.The key themes go from natural to cultural seascape, form tangible to intangible values, from people perceptions to performing arts, from design to planning and management, form global strategies to participatory approach, from seascape histories to future scenarios. The pioneering case studies illustrated will serve as examples for future seascape development, conservation and governance.

Climate Action Zones

Main, Kelly, Masoud, Fadi, Mazereeuw, Miho, Lu, Jia, Ojha Mayank, Barve Aditya, Krishna Chetan.
“Climate Action Zones: A Clustering Methodology for Resilient Spatial Planning and Design in the Face of Climate Uncertainty” in Enhancing Disaster Preparedness: From Humanitarian Architecture to Community Resilience. Edited by Nuno Martins, Mahmood Fayazi, Liliane Hobeica and Faten Kikano (eds).  
Elsevier (2020)

Enhancing Disaster Preparedness: From Humanitarian Architecture to Community Resilience presents innovative tools and best practices in reducing risk and building resilience. Combining the applications of social, financial, technological, design, engineering and nature-based approaches, the volume addresses rising global priorities and focuses on our global understanding of the “Build Back Better” principle, response to forced displacement, and resilience in decision-making. The book presents historic and contemporary issues, asking researchers and governments how they can use technological advances, risk and resilience metrics and modeling, business continuity practices, and past experiences to assess disasters and response preparedness and ensure effective response and recovery related to disasters.

Climate Action Zones

Masoud, Fadi, Mazereeuw, Miho, Lu, Jia, Main, Kelly, Ojha Mayank, Barve Aditya, Krishna Chetan. Climate Action Zones: Building a New Methodology for Resilient Spatial Planning in Coastal Cities” in the 8th International Conference on Building Resilience (ICBR) Conference Proceedings.
Lisbon Portugal: Elsevier (2019)

Coding Permanent Flexibility

Masoud, Fadi.  “Coding Permanent Flexibility.” In Infinite Suburbia, edited by Alan Berger, Joel Kotkin, and Celina Balders Guzman, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2017. Pp. 634–50.

Infinite Suburbia: This groundbreaking collection presents fifty-two essays by seventy-four authors from twenty different fields, including, but not limited to, design, architecture, landscape, planning, history, demographics, social justice, familial trends, policy, energy, mobility, health, environment, economics, and applied and future technologies. This exhaustive compilation is richly illustrated with a wealth of photography, aerial drone shots, drawings, plans, diagrams, charts, maps, and archival materials, making it the definitive statement on suburbia at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

About Rising Tides: It's the Delta Stupid

Adams, Drew, Masoud, Fadi. “About Rising Tides: It’s the Delta Stupid.” In Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design for Resilience to Flooding and Climate Change.
Authors Adam, Michele, Watson, Donald. Wiley 2010.

Competition work by Drew Adams and Fadi Masoud was included in the book, Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design for Resilience to Climate Change. Design for Flooding is a professional textbook by Donald Watson and Michele Adams published by John Wiley and Sons. The book provides a knowledge base and guidelines for design professionals and municipal officials involved with flooding, severe weather, climate change, and the prospect of rising sea level. Their project, About Rising Tides: It’s the Delta Stupid, is one of eight international works selected for a chapter focused on examples that address: stormwater and floodplain management; flood-resistant design and adaptation to sea level rise; multidisciplinary design approaches; and innovative design and construction for protection and improvement of water security.


Field Notes on Pandemic Teaching

Masoud, Fadi, “Field Notes on Pandemic Teaching: 6,” Places Journal, April 2020

This six-part series asked design educators around the globe on the challenges and opportunities of the massive move to online teaching. Some are practical and logistical; others are more conceptual, political, and even philosophical, involving the importance of campus community, the role of schools in providing for the wellbeing of students, and passionate convictions about the nature of learning and the transmission of knowledge. How will the current adaptations inflect our understandings of studio and seminar instruction, in which the tools might be digital but the teaching is individualized and immersive, grounded in time and place, rooted in embodied encounters that allow for serendipitous discovery? The series included contributions by:  David Smiley, Alison Hirsch, Iñaki Alday, Greg Lindquist, Linda C. Samuels, Lori Brown, Kristi Cheramie, Sharon Haar, Derek Hoeferlin, Kadambari Baxi, Matias del Campo, Renée Cheng, Dana Tomlin, Nicholas Pevzner, Billy Fleming, Peggy Deamer, Hugh Raffles, Germane Barnes, Jesse LeCavalier, Susannah Drake, Carolina Dayer , Andrew Herscher, Shannon Mattern, Mireille Roddier, Mira Schor, Shelly Silver, Philip Ursprung, Clare Lyster, Marshall Brown, Jeffrey Hou, Jonathan Massey, Frances Richard,  Susan Piedmont-Palladino, Barbara Penner, Harriet Harriss, Brett Milligan, Reinhold Martin, Frederick Steiner, and others.

Coding Flux: Redesigning the Migrating Coast

Fadi Masoud, “Coding Flux: Redesigning the migrating coast,” Scenario Journal 06: Migration, Summer 2017,

Scenario Journal:  Scenario started as the Landscape Urbanism Journal. It brings together work from practitioners, academics and students of landscape, planning, architecture, art, engineering, and environmental science. The journal is committed to striking a balance between rigorous and critical academic pieces, provocative thought pieces, design projects and graphically lush photo essays/artistic work. Scenario Journal is generously supported by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, the journal’s primary affiliation.

Coding the Third Condition

Coding the Third Condition, co-authored: Masoud and Vega-Barachowitz: urbanNext: editor: Roi Salgurario, Actar: 2017

urbanNext’s main goal is to generate a global network to produce content focused on rethinking architecture through the contemporary urban milieu —urbanity that is conditioned by the specificities of the information society, sustainable awareness, globalized knowledge and leisure. urbanNext is designed to establish a working structure and a multidisciplinary authorial platform for collaborations between people who have an interest in working, thinking and reflecting on design practices and their future. Finally, urbanNext is dedicated to distributing content through multiple channels, formats and media (print, digital, audiovisual, and even exhibitions or events). This convergence of resources, teams and media allows for a new collective narrative, which we call transmedia. urbanNext is promoted by Actar Publishers, a publishing house based in New York and Barcelona, with more than 20 years of experience publishing books on architecture, photography and design. This project emerged as the logical next step for a group of editors engaged in redefining the task of disseminating, and generating content, by harnessing the capacities of the digital medium: its multiple formats, and the interaction with readers.

Coding Flux

Masoud, Fadi. “Coding Flux: In Search of Resilient Urbanism in South Florida | University of Toronto.” Cities@UofT (blog), September 2017.