Stephen Sears

Stephen Sears maintains a creative practice and a research agenda that includes design projects for marginalized urban territories, and geo-humanist studies of Midwestern working landscapes. His work on marginalized urban territories explores relationships between environmental, economic, and social conditions found in large-scale, under-used territories in Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Buenos Aires, Santander, Puebla and Rome. These projects identify the latent utility inherent in each set of urban circumstances, and responds with design interventions for capturing those benefits for the ecological, social, cultural, economic improvement of the city. Sears also examines a range of phenomena found in Midwestern working landscapes in order to understand the factors that transformed a former wilderness into the manifestation of an American agrarian ethos. This long-term project identifies the vernacular practices and cultural traditions that have fundamentally shaped the built environment. Most recently, he is conducting a series of interpretive field investigations in the Wabash River watershed, and documenting this process by generating maps, diagrams, photo/video collage, and paintings addressing the regional interchange between landscape and culture. His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, including Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and the American Academy in Rome. He teaches studios ranging from foundation site design to advanced-level urban design, techniques in digital representation, and seminars about theory, practice, culture and media.