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San Francisco Bay Area Trip a Savory Study in Landscape Urbanism

Mobile Landscape Studio, San Francisco

Digging into the question of what makes a wonderful neighborhood, Master of Landscape Architecture students travelled with Prof. Jocelyn Zanzot, Co-director of the Mobile Studio, to the San Francisco Bay Area in Fall 2014 to study a range of examples. From the historic Mission District in the city, to ecologically-designed Village Homes in Davis, the students explored the urban qualities and vital living conditions of vibrant communities to inform their semester-long project back in Auburn.

Commissioned by Dr. R. Michael Murray, Auburn ‘72, and son Michael Jr., Auburn ‘06, to plan and design a new 78-acre neighborhood between Richland Road and the Saugahatchee Creek, Jocelyn’s Mobile Studio field studies traveled by bus, train, and bicycle around the Bay Area, from professional offices to the most radical of solar-powered co-housing scenes to inform this wonderful local new sustainable community.

Half a century after the establishment of Golden Gate Park, the city’s most famous romantic public landscape, the San Francisco Bay Area flourished as a laboratory of modern landscape architecture. Beginning in the 1920’a with the atelier practices of Thomas Church and Garret Eckbo, later Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva, residential gardens, social housing projects and great civic landscapes demonstrated new thinking in landscape architecture and urbanism. Students enjoyed a week exploring these world-class precedents in landscape architecture design practice. Studying the working networks and changing aesthetics of neighborhoods challenged to sustain great diversity and creative opportunities, students discovered principles of design that were used to shape their vision for Murray’s new Dakota neighborhood.

Please visit the Mobile Studio’s site: to see Dakota Dreamin’, the short film that synthesizes the students’ wonderful work and the Dakota website at: .