The following provisions govern the conduct of this course and apply to all students registered for the course. This website and its contents constitute the course syllabus. Please note that this and other course related information is available to students in alternative formats upon request.

Official Course Designation and Number:

LA 8201. Designing Landscapes for Dwelling and Settlement, 6 credits

Department of Landscape Architecture

MWF 1:30-5:30pm Fall 2018

261 Rapson Hall and off-campus locations as noted in advance

Course Hashtag: #2018LA8201 or #anthropocenefutures


Course Pre-requisites

LA 5203, 5571, Grad LA major, or Instructor Approval. The course is part of the second year of the MLA professional program and it builds upon previous knowledge and skills introduced in the first year of the MLA program. Therefore, it is expected that you have a working understanding of an iterative design process including the fundamentals of programming, analysis, design conceptualization and representation. This understanding should be complemented with introductory knowledge of landscape architectural principles related to urban landscape meaning and function, spatial and form typology, ecological systems and processes across varying scales, landscape experience and aesthetics. Finally, there is an expectation that you have basic proficiency in visual representation and site-scale technical skills including site documentation, site planning, earthworks, planting design, urban landscape ecology, and a broad palette of landscape materials.


Course Instructor

Matthew Tucker ASLA
Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture

m/t: 781.879.7233


Course Teaching Assistant

Aubrey Tyler


Office Hours

My office hours this semester are by prior appointment. In addition to office meetings in Rapson, I am readily available for informal feedback and guidance via email, Google chat, or text.  Email or text me to set up a meeting time. 



The LA8201 course website, inclusive of this page AND all other LA8201 website pages, constitute the full syllabus for this course.  No one page should be considered the syllabus. 


Course Meeting Time.

Class meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday each week in Rapson 261. Note that as of 2018, studio class begins at 1.30 p.m. and ends at 5.30 p.m. Desk review appointments will be organized during class time. In general our weekly schedule will follow a pattern of lecture and discussion on Mondays, in-class work and desk crits on Wednesdays and pin-up progress reviews or presentations on Fridays. 

If you wish to meet with me during a class meeting period, please post a sign-up list before the start of class. Students must be present for and participate in studio activities each class period. If you are going to be arriving late to class, please email/text me in advance and when you arrive late, do so discreetly. Please note that one project review and/or charette days, studio time may unintentionally extend beyond 5:30 PM. Please advise me no less than one week in advance if you have a conflict with class meeting time extending beyond 5:30 on project review and/or charette days so I can tailor the presentation order accordingly. On non-review days, if I are unable to meet with you for individual consultation during normal class hours and you wish to receive individual consultation, please make arrangements via email to meet with the me outside of normal class time (preferably during office hours).

Please note the class will be conducting a driving tour from September 21st to September 30th and you will be expected to attend. Please notify your other instructors well in advance of your absence; likewise if you have TA or RA responsibilities. If you need me to send an email to your instructor or supervisor, please let me know and I will be happy to do so.  Please advise me as soon possible if you have a conflict as participation in the trip is necessary for the course instruction and learning. 


Assignments and Expectations.

The overall course structure will provide the framework for various modes of design research and conceptualization. This will include specific assignments on analysis, programming and schematic design supported by readings and lectures. Given the exploratory nature of the studio, the overall course pedagogy will require a significant amount of self-initiated work, including self-selection of your research agenda and identification of potential program themes and project sites (via travel). In addition, portions of the travel itinerary are intentionally open-ended so as to provide reasonable flexibility in determining travel routes, overnight locations and other factors encountered as part of the expeditionary nature of the travel. Therefore, please be aware that students in this course must be willing to self-initiate highly individualized research and project definition, assess and propose appropriate methods of design communication, be open and accepting of potential travel unknowns and project uncertainties, and be invested in shared responsibilities and group decision making. 

The class meeting will require participation and discussion, in weekly seminars, lecture Q&A, and with periodic guests to the studio or during site visits. If you chose not to participate in these discussion, your grade may be reduced.

You will be expected to have work prepared prior to the class meeting time. If you are not prepared, then you will not get much out of class. In addition, group sessions and progress reviews will be organized periodically for peer review of work and reading discussions. Students are expected to be present for, prepared and contribute to these discussions and peer review.  On days with desk reviews, you must have new work prepared for desk critique (in other words, drawings should be legible and organized). Those who do not have work prepared for proper review will be skipped and if time allows, the work will be reviewed later.

You are expected to productively engage in studio work during these times. You can get a lot of work done during these 12 hours when used effectively.


Project Reviews and Feedback.

The work products of this studio are project based.  There will be two types of reviews for this course: progress reviews (in pinup format) and formal reviews. Progress reviews will be those at which questions and criticism are provided by the instructor, guests and fellow students. Progress reviews and project presentations will be before your instructor, your peers, and/or a "jury" comprised of faculty members, visiting practitioners, or a combination of both. These reviews are also intended as discussions as opposed to ‘juries’ however the professional presentation of your work is of utmost importance. Neither type of review is successful if you show up unprepared.

All students will be required to present their work at the scheduled review times; failure to appear and present your work on time may result in an “F” for the assignment unless previous arrangements have been made with the instructor. Please take ownership of the quality of your presentation by not 'seeing it' for the first time while you present, spellcheck ahead of your presentation, and have your presentation ready to go on a laptop or pinned-up prior to your presentation. Do not expect the instructor to take 5 minute breaks between every presentation for you to load files on to a laptop. If you are delaying the presentations for the day, you may be directed to present at another time or your presentation may be skipped altogether and your grade will reflect same.

The feedback you receive from me will largely consist of verbal comments. My feedback will include comments from five different formats, including desk critiques, team meetings and debriefing, progress reviews, formal presentations and office hours. I do not provide extensive formal written evaluation comments, so YOU are responsible for taking notes when receiving verbal feedback. If you cannot do so, please have someone else take notes for you. During desk crits, please write down the comments I or others are providing you. After a desk critique, I strongly suggest you rewrite the feedback you received and post them in a visible place on or near your desk.  If you wish to privately discuss concerns about your work or project direction, please arrange for a meeting during office hours. so  I also welcome updates for feedback by email, which I may either respond by email or through discussion during the next available class period. 


Evaluation of your work will be provided as discussed above in "Project Reviews and Feedback". I will also evaluate your submittals and scores will be given for each of the major assignments. The overall course score is a total of the points you receive on all of the assignments. The total course points will be analyzed and a letter grade will be provided based on the University of Minnesota standard letter grade schedule below. Grades will be provided based on the professional judgment about each student’s overall effort AND achievement relative to the scope, learning objectives and specific requirements of each of the assignments given. The relative weighting of assignments is made roughly proportional to the amount of time dedicated to the assignment in the course schedule in this syllabus. See here for University of Minnesota grading and transcript policy

A 100.0 Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
A- 93.0
B+ 87.0
B 83.0 Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
B- 80.0
C+ 77.0
C 73.0 Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect
C- 70.0
D+ 67.0
D 63.0 Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements
D- 60.0
F 50.0 Represents failure and signifies that the work was either completed at a level of achievement not worthy of credit, or was not completed and the student was not awarded an


Late Work.

If a Submittal is one day late, the maximum points for the submittal will be reduced by 5 points. Failure to submit an assignment within 24 hours after the deadline will result in an “0” for the assignment unless previous arrangements have been made with the instructor and they were confirmed AND accepted by the instructor.  Failure to present your work during the designated time period may result in the grade for the entire submittal to be forfeited and a "0" recorded.  Illness or personal emergencies are acceptable exceptions- with advance notice if approved by the Instructor or with verification of absence.


Individual Assignments.

Work in this class requires individual work as well as informal and formal collaboration. However, all submittals will be reviewed and assessed based on an individual efforts that will reflect individual nuances of your approach, opinions and interpretation. For example, while a submittal may require a team effort, if you do not carry your share of the work load, your grade submittal grade may be different than those on your team.

Students are encouraged to consult with each other in addressing the submittals, but submittals must reflect a substantially individual effort of the student whose name appears on the completed assignment. Lectures will be offered by the instructors, and students are required to attend them. Attendance of specific visiting lectures offered through the College of Design Lecture Series and by other units within the University may be required. Information about the location date and time of such lectures will be announced in advance in class.



This course is run as a paperless studio. All communications and Submittals will be verbal and digital (email and course website). Please promptly contact the instructor if there are any problems in accessing digital, course-related information. All digital content will be archived after the semester is over.


Course Folders and Data.

Readings and other course materials posted will be available in the course LA8201 Fall 2017 folder on Google Drive (located here). The folder should also be used as a library that should be used to store 'community' project data, such as images, reports, GIS data, DWG files, etc. Drafts and maps can also be uploaded to the course folder to share with other peer-review group members. Work due for the course will be submitted directly to the instructors via the course Google Drive folder. Do not email work to the instructor unless directed to do so.


Copyright of Student Works

The Department of Landscape Architecture requires that students submit InDesign Packages and high-resolution PDF (300-dpi) files of work executed as part of the Master of Landscape Architecture curriculum. Files must be submitted at the completion of each course to the Instructor. Student work will be used for purposes of research, publicity, and outreach with credit given to the creator of the works featured. Student work is copyrighted under the following Creative Commons terms:
1. Attribution: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
2. Non-Commercial: You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
3. No Derivatives: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.


Class Attendance and Work.

You are expected to attend all class periods. In the event that you cannot attend class, please consult the instructor for the provision of special arrangements related to personal plans, health conditions, illness, or absences as soon as you are aware of an issue. Please refrain from habitual tardiness as impromptu class announcements, reminders, etc are typically given at the start of class.  Students with a pattern of tardiness will be warned by the instructor, and at the discretion of the instructor, grades may be reduced due to tardiness. As the course meeting time embodies the full weekly contact period, you are allowed one un-excused absence. Any additional un-excused absences will result in your course grade being reduced by 10 points per un-excused absence. In other words, 2 un-excused absences= 90 point max course points, 3 un-excused absences= 80 point max course points, 4 un-excused absences= see you next year.

You will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances, however if this abensce results in missing a presentation you are responsible for scheduling an alternative time to present your work. Failure to do so will result in point deductions associated with not presenting the work. Please notify the course instructor of absences due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances as soon as you are aware of an issue. Please see the University’s Policy regarding Legitimate Absences.



Incomplete grades or “I” grades will only be given if students have a legitimate, documented reason for not being able to complete coursework. Documented reasons should be provided to the Instructor and the student will be required to complete the CDes Incomplete Form, found here. You will need to complete the CDes Incomplete Form and the conditions must be agreed upon by the Instructor vis-a-vis a dated and signed copied by the Instructor. If you submit the Incomplete request form to the Instructor and you do NOT receive a signed and dated copy back from the Instructor, do not assume your Incomplete was approved.


Academic Dishonesty.

Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own (i.e. plagiarism), can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows: plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering forging , or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis. Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an "F" for the course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask. Instructors are required to report incidents of scholastic dishonesty to the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (OSCAI).    For additional information on the University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code, please see here.


Sexual Harassment.
University policy prohibits sexual harassment as defined in the University policy statement of 17 May 1984; copies of this statement are available in 419 Morrill Hall. Complaints about sexual harassment should be reported to the University Office of Equal Opportunity, 419 Morrill Hall. For additional information, please consult Board of Regents Policy,


Student Conduct Code.

Students are also responsible for behavior that meets the standards of the Student Conduct Code.


Student Academic Complaints:

If you have a concern about the course instruction, the classroom, or other course-related concerns, please contact the me immediately so we may set up a time to discuss and work through the issue. It is important that you communicate your concerns so we may address them together. In doing so, know that the University has a “No Retaliation” policy whereby those reporting issues are protected from retaliation. The University has a procedure for student academic complaints, found here.  The goal of this procedure is to provide a simple and fair process that allows for both informal and formal resolution of conflicts and for all parties to work towards a positive resolution. If you wish to speak with others about academic complaints, you may also contact the Student Conflict Resolution Center for confidential consultation.


Equal opportunity.

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, martial status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. For more information, please consult Board of Regents Policy.


Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.

Each year I have one or two students who advise us of a disability and I try very hard to accommodate that disability in an integrated manner. If you have a disability that requires some accommodation, please contact me. Information you share with me will be held in confidence. Determining appropriate disability accommodations is a collaborative process and the sooner I am aware of a disability the sooner I can provide assistance and accommodation. You will need to register with Disability Services and provide documentation of your disability. The course instructor must provide information regarding course content, methods, and essential components to Disability Services and then we will work together to determine appropriate accommodations. For more information, please reference the University’s Disability Services Policy and the 


Mental Health Services.

You may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance and may reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the Student Mental Health website. If you are encountering significant stress and mental health issues, please let us know. While I am not a medical professionals, I can sometimes provide my own perspective or assist in finding the resources to support you.


Diversity & Religious Observations:

The University encourages and supports the diversity of our community, and has provided guidance for any potential for conflicts involving academic activities and personal religious observation. Any concerns about lack of attendance or inability to participate fully in the course activity should be fully aired at the start of the term. Constraints on participation that conflict with adequate participation in the course and cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the faculty and the student need to be identified prior to the drop/add date for registration. All work and review missed must be completed per the terms clarified by the individual instructor. Here is a link to a list of recognized religious holidays.