Master in Design Studies: Risk and Resilience

Harvard University - Graduate School of Design


Risk and Resilience considers communities and locations susceptible to crisis and develops strategies to tackle those challenges preemptively. Cities around the world face unpredictable challenges (natural disasters, long-term environmental change, public health crises, extreme social inequity, and violence) in increasing intensity. Despite these risks, cities and their residents are often forced to rely on short-term planning and post-hoc fixes. Risk and Resilience, a concentration area within the Master in Design Studies, sets out to develop an anticipatory approach to spatial planning, providing communities with tools to effectively prepare for, cope with, and manage rapid change and the spatial, social and economic vulnerabilities it produces. The program equips students with the critical and intellectual skills to define new, preemptive forms of practice. Grounded in the physical, students work with populations and sites that are prone to socio-political conflict and environmental change.

This post-professional program is widely trans-disciplinary, working across Urban Planning and Design, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Public Policy and Public Health. Students construct their own program of study from course offerings at the GSD as well as from the Harvard Kennedy School, the School of Public Health, Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Harvard Humanitarian Institute, or other departments at the University.


  • Institution Name: Harvard University - Graduate School of Design
  • Department: Graduate School of Design
  • Address: 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
  • Website: