Approach

1/10
Take teens seriously,

We believe that teams of 15-19 year olds can bring a unique optimism, energy, and insight to explore and solve some of the most difficult problems facing cities. With no prior experience in architecture, design, or construction, our students have proven year after year, that they are natural designers. They are, curious, motivated to help others, and are ready to let go of conventional views and approaches. They quickly form incredible networks and are tireless in their willingness to work together for better solutions. Young adults have our close attention.

give them our
toughest problems, 

In January each year, the Director and Advisory Panel of URBANFRAME identify a problem facing cities globally and set a broad research agenda for the year. Previous topics include the urban implications of Sustainability, Mobility, Urban Agriculture, and Vacant Space.

To provide a global context and extended relevance for UF's local design/build experiments, case studies on the selected topic are developed in other cities during February and March.

the right support,

We understand the gifts and real limits of the developing teenage brain and provide the conceptual and organizational framework, setting, and technical support. In addition to giving teens an opportunity to design and build real architecture, URBANFRAME's Graduate Fellowship in Design/Build Learning gives selected graduate students a funded opportunity to apply their education to real-world problems on a schedule that meshes with their primary academic calendar.

In the early spring, following an application process and interviews,  a team of selected graduate students spend several months developing two distinct research questions, identifying sites, and initiating contact with city officials, key organizations, and members of the selected community.

In collaboration with the Director and Assistant Director, the Fellows then develop their project proposals into curricula for the Summer Teen Design/Build program at MIT.

 

and they will
prove themselves.

In July, with the overall program framework set, the summer program begins with the Teaching Fellows' introductory presentation to the participating students. In the following three days, teams cover background research, visit sites, and meet members of the community. The days are full of graphic presentations, discussion, travel, design challenges, and plenty of raucous fun.



With the pending reality of full scale built architecture ahead, this is an exciting and fun transition into the mindset of a relevant design. 



​Regardless of when they participate, all design team members have an opportunity to design, build, and work with members of the partner community.