About amirgohar

An urban designer, planner & sustainable development expert with fourteen years of experience working with municipal governments, international organizations, and private sector firms on site planning, urban design strategies, master planning, informal settlement development and landscape planning. Possesses an outstanding ability to use illustrations, sketches and freehand drawings. Adept at communicating complicated design rationale through sketches and diagrams to make subject matter readable and understandable to technical as well as non-technical personnel. Exceptionally skilled at working with teams of architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, social experts, surveyors, road planners and engineers to produce quality deliverables within deadlines. Flexibility to adapt and communicate at all levels of business and within communities. Have in-depth experience in working through participatory planning with local inhabitants and trained to face challenges and overcome obstacles “politically” that occur from the local governance and decision-making.

The Landscape Debate


The Blues are mainstream free-marketers. Such people have a positive bias toward the future based on technological optimism and the strength of the economy. They are armed with a strong statistical case, based on the vigorous and dynamic economies of Western and (until1998) Asian nations. Their approach is deeply rooted in conventional economics, and their number-crunching reveals a world vastly improved and rapidly ascending. Blues believe that reliance on innovation, investment, and individual freedom will ensure a shining future for humankind, and a level of material well-being that has strong appeal to virtually everyone in the world. Their optimism also extends to the environment, believing that in most cases, markets will send strong and appropriate price signals that will elicit timely responses, mitigating environmental damage or causing technological breakthroughs

The Reds represent the sundry forms of socialism. Although one might expect them to have been discredited by the downfall of the Soviet Union, their worldview is very much alive. They find validation in the chaotic and horrific economic conditions that the rise of bandit capitalism has brought to contemporary Russia, a country whose economic machinery now benefits a minority at the expense of a materially and socially disadvantaged majority. The growing and worldwide gap between rich and poor confirms the Reds’ analyses, which are as accurate about poverty and suffering as the Blues’ observations are accurate about growth and change. While Blues focus on the promise of growth and technology, Reds focus on its shadow and try to discern its root causes. They view labor—one aspect of human capital—as the principal source of wealth and see its exploitation as the basis of injustice, impoverishment, and ignorance. The Reds generally have little to say about the environment, seeing it as a distraction from fundamentally important social issues.

The Greens see the world primarily in terms of ecosystems, and thus concentrate on depletion, damage, pollution, and population growth. They focus on carrying capacity and want to bring about better under- standing of how large the economy can grow before it outstrips its host. Their policy focuses on how many and how much, the number of people, and the amount of impact each person can have upon the environment. Greens are not usually technophobes; most see technology as an important tool to reduce human impact. More recently, some have become interested in free-market mechanisms, and want externalities presently borne by society to be fully integrated into producer costs and consumer prices so that markets become, in David Korten’s phrase, “mindful.” The Greens, and to some extent the Reds, host bigger tents in that they hold a bolder and broader diversity of views. But this also keeps them splintered and self-canceling, as Greens tend to unite their enemies and divide their friends, a good formula for political failure. They are often portrayed as caring less for people than animals, more about halogenated compounds than waterborne diseases.

The Whites are the synthesists, and do not entirely oppose or agree with any of the three other views. With an optimistic view of humankind, they believe that process will win the day, that people who tell others what is right lead society astray. Since Blues, Reds, and Greens all fall into that category, Whites reject them all, preferring a middle way of integration, reform, respect, and reliance. They reject ideologies whether based on markets, class, or nature, and trust that informed people can solve their own problems. On the environmental level, they argue that all issues are local. On business, they say the fabled level playing field never existed because of market imperfections, lobbying, subsidies, and capital concentration. On social problems, they argue that solutions will naturally arise from place and culture rather than from ideology. Leadership in the White world is reminiscent of the Taoist reminder that good rulers make their subjects feel as if they succeeded by themselves. Environmental and social solutions can emerge only when local people are empowered and honored.

With regards to the Master Plan of the new city in Senegal that was viewed in class. In one page, indicate if you are (WITH) or (AGAINST) the decision of building such a new city. You may support your overall argument using the mandates of any of the hats. It is also encouraged to comment on those who are on the other camp to discredit their arguments and support yours. Use the lecture notes, class material, the readings, … and any other scholarly references or professional reports.


The Debate Participants


International Development Project: Assessment & Suggested Improvement


In groups of two, and based on the projects you selected in class, write an overall critique of these projects, initiatives, or activities. In no more than three pages, provide a brief description for the project, the lead organization that is working on it, and an assessment for the project performance looking at its environmental and social components. If you are the UN secretary general and have the power to encourage, or stop this project, would you approve/implement this project (as it is) or not? After your critic and reflection, provide three direct actions that if taken into account will significantly improve the project. Make sure to add the name of your project, location and overall theme. Use the material in earlier classes to have a critical lens on the project development.


Assessments of Inter-state Development Projects


Interstates urban, landscape and infrastructure projects face some challenges when it comes to administration, budget and long term sustainability. In no more than two pages, provide an assessment for the project looking at environmental and social components. If you are the mayor or governor, would you approve/implement this project (as it is) or not? Lastly, conclude with five guidelines that you will adopt to enhance the project and make it more sustainable. Make sure to add the name of your project, location and overall theme. Use the material in earlier classes to have a critical lens on the project development.


Landscape Project Evaluation on the Neighborhood Scale


As per the discussion in class, write your overall assessment of the project you presented. Use the questions presented in class for guidance but feel free to expand on them or use a different outline. Make sure to add the name of your project, location and overall theme. Use the material in earlier classes to have a critical lens on the project development, answer the questions about what is god and what is bad about it. Lastly, if you are the mayor of this city, would you vote for this project or not? Your submission shouldn’t exceed 2 pages. Feel free to use other sources to support your argument.


A Myth Can Preserve the Ecological Balance


Write a one page reflection on the movie. You may approach this the way you prefer. Make it one page, precise and building connections between different things discussed in the documentary. You may write about parks, wolves, India, history, modernization, ecosystem, local tradition, shepherds, local knowledge, food-chain, co-existence … or local tribes.



Deforestation & Urbanization


Increased deforestation and rapid urbanization are two connected phenomena that poses threat on the environmental resources. Describe the top three causes of rapid urbanization then explain in your views how can we reduce deforestation to restore the ecological balance. Give examples from different cities or regions to support your argument


Social Movement + New S.M. + Env. Movement


When un-packing social movement, new social movement and environmental movement we find that they are interlinked. There are major similarities, commonalities and also differences between them. Using the lecture notes and the lecture by Manuel Castells, give an example that you know for (i) a social movement, (ii) a new social movement and (iii) an environmental movement. Explain the three movements using the framework developed by Doyle Timothty.


People’s Right to the City


Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs have well-documented differences in planning cities. What are the main 5 characteristics that Robert Moses wanted to see in a city and always promoted. And what are the main 5 qualities that Jane Jacob fought to achieve in order to maintain the identity and sense of place.

In no more than two pages, describe this conflict and what are the lessons learned from it for future planners and city mayors. Use the lens of David Harvey’s description to this conflict whenever applicable to support your argument.


Unpacking the Built & Natural Environments


According to discussion in class and the different ways the natural environment influence how we shape our built environment try to summarize some of the ideas discussed as follow: (1) In your first page, in your view, what are the most two significant environmental factors influencing and shaping the built environment, and why do you consider them of more importance than the other? and (2) in your second page: Discuss, in your views, and according to the ecological and social benefits debated in class, share how to integrate nature in cities on the continuum below:


#Env_Plan #Landscape

Rivers and their Social Connectivity

2018-09-05 08.47.17

The article “Social Connectivity of Urban Rivers” provides a framework to understand the relationship between the river the city users. There are different typologies that the article uses to unpack this relationship. Select a river that you are familiar with (not mentioned in the paper), and in no more than two pages, describe: (i) its environmental profile, (ii) different types people’s of interactions, (iii) flooding potential, (iv) describe its transport system contemporary or historically, (v) describe its three types of connectivity, and (vi) suggest possible improvements/restorations for the segment you are familiar with. Be articulate precise and try to cover all the points with depth and clarity.

#Env_Plan #Landscape

Rachel Cross

Madison  Quincke 

Danielle Hodgson

The LAF Declaration, New LAF Declaration, and everything in Between.


The Landscape Architecture Foundation have developed two “declarations of concern” one in 1966 and one in 2016 with 60 years different. Write in no more than two pages, your assessment of the original declaration, and the new declaration, and compare and contrast the similarities and differences between both in the light of the times they were developed. End with a paragraph sharing your own opinion if we as landscape architects are making progress in addressing the concerns in both declarations or not? And are we moving forward progressively / positively, or not?

Review the Declaration, the New Declaration and the Lecture/Video titled: “Less a Declaration than Some Thoughts” (all on the class-material tab) then write your reflections and critical overview on the directions we are heading to.   #Env_Plan #Landscape

History & Evolution of Environmental & Landscape Planning


Based on the lecture and discussions in class, identify the main milestones discussed through the different eras. Select the most significant two in your own views and describe them in further details explaining the reasons of their importance.

In couple of lines indicate if you agree more with Muir or Pinchot and why?

Your response should be 1½-2 pages, typed, Times New Roman, 12 font, 1.5-spaced. It shall be posted on the class blog.   #Env_Plan #Landscape