11.304J | Spring 2009 | Graduate

Site and Infrastructure Systems Planning


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


There are no specified prerequisites for this course.

Overview (PDF)

The final project is the product of a long-term collaboration between Japan’s Sekisui House and MIT School of Architecture and Planning formed to envision, design, and build prototypical sustainable residential communities for society in the years 2030-2050. The research represents the work of a joint project team of graduate students from the School’s Architecture and Urban Planning Departments and staff members from Sekisui House working under the guidance of Dean Adèle Naudé Santos, Professor Eran Ben-Joseph, Professor Shun Kanda, and Professor Andrew Scott.

Sekisui House has a long history of building and developing high-quality homes and communities. A leader in innovation, Sekisui House partners with architects and universities in order to experiment and advance the technologies and practice of community design.

Japan’s urban communities are facing a demographic and environmental crisis typical of many advanced and developing nations. A declining birthrate, a rapidly aging population, and changes in social habits have depopulated many of Japan’s New Towns; this change has been accompanied with stigma and neglect, all representative of the relative inflexibility of the New Town form. Using Tama New Town in Japan as a reference, the project team is conducting studies on sustainable community design and ideal residential housing from a global perspective in order to accumulate new insights and technical expertise that can be utilized in future business. The hope is that this project will serve as a useful guideline on a global scale.


The goal of the Site Planning Studio is to create a manual for Ecologic Oriented Development and infrastructure design that derives from the study area’s typologies. Rather than providing a single plan, the purpose of the manual is to create a flexible set of codes/typologies that account for site variability. In addition to outlining techniques and intervention points, the manual also includes few permutations of how these techniques could be synthesized and employed at the neighborhood scale.


The client for this project is Sekisui House, a contracting firm in Tokyo, Japan.

Required Textbooks

France, Robert L. Wetland Design: Principles and Practices for Landscape Architects and Land Use Planners. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002. ISBN: 9780393730739.

Lyle, John T. Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. New York City, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. ISBN: 9780471178439.

Buy at MIT Press Lynch, Kevin, and Gary Hack. Site Planning. 3rd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780262121064.

Marsh, William M. Landscape Planning: Environmental Applications. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. ISBN: 9780471485834.

Randolph, John. Environmental Land Use Planning Management. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004. ISBN: 9781559639484.

Steiner, Frederick R. The Living Landscape: an Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN: 9780070793989.

Approach Plan for Attaining Goals

We have selected Tama New Town (Tokyo) as a target area since various issues, such as an aging population, exist in the area. Because the target area is rather large—approx. 3,000 hectares (ha)—we have selected districts from A to D listed below and propose a development or redevelopment design plan for forming a sustainable local community. Among districts A through D, districts A and B are presently residential areas, while districts C and D are currently unused or will be changed to a different land utilization category. It is assumed that the results obtained in the workshop will be applied or deployed in diverse ways in future Sekisui House’s projects initiated in other areas.

  • Nagayama-Suwa district (approx. 250 ha)
    This is a new town phase-1 development district (initiated in 1971). There are various issues to be addressed here due to the aging of the population, buildings and houses as well as the uneven community composition.
  • Kashima-Matsugawa district (approx. 400 ha)
    This includes a new town phase-2 development district (initiated in 1976) and adjacent zone. This district has problems similar to those of A above). In addition, it is characterized by the presence of dramatically varied living environments due to different elevations within the area.
  • Higashiyama district (approx. 30 ha)
    This is the last development district in Tama New Town. It retains the rich natural conditions of Tama Hills as well as the history and culture of mountain villages. The Sekisui House’s project is now underway.
  • Tama Hills Golf Course (approx. 100 ha)
    This golf course is located on the premises of the Tama Service Annex of the U.S. Forces, Japan (Tama Recreation Center). The premises are rich in nature.


There will be several assignments throughout the semester leading up to a final project that will report the work you have done throughout the semester.

Grading and Evaluation

Students are graded on the basis of active participation, commitment, team work, quality of presentation and submitting the exercises on time.

Progress during the semester and striving for improvement will be credited.


1 Site planning: introduction  
2 Site and landscape planning processes Future scenarios assignment due
3 Site inventory and evaluation

Landscape units and site physiography mapping and transects assignment due

Alternatives and new approaches to site and infrastructure technologies assignment due

4 Earthwork, soils  
5 Earthwork and utilities Technology-driven schematic site plan investigation assignment due
6 Storm water: best management practices  
7 Sites around wetlands and water features Sekisui presentations
8 Traffic and circulation  

Subdivisions, neighborhood design and sustainability

Tasks 1, 2, and 3 of Final Project due

10 Graphic communication  
11-14 Project work Task 4 and 5 of Final Project due
15 Wrap up, debriefing Final site plans and typologies due

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Written Assignments