University of California, Berkeley

Disc* (Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities)

UCB Disc students

Disc* (Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities is an intensive five week summer program for undergraduates offered by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design that explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment.

Through a combination of design and digital fabrication, studio sessions, lectures and seminars, demos and workshops, field work and site visits, students engage in the discourse of urban innovation while gaining hands-on experience developing design proposals.


Guided by UC Berkeley faculty, Bay Area urbanists, designers, makers, and entrepreneurs, Disc* students confront the most pressing challenges of global urbanization using innovative people-centered design. seminars and lectures, studio workshop sessions, site visits and fieldwork, students have the opportunity to develop and test their own creative ideas while working with some of the most forward-thinking researchers and practitioners from the Bay Area design community. 

Upon completion of the Disc* program, participants graduate with a strong understanding of urban dynamics and a broad toolkit with which to confront "wicked problems", as well as compelling artifacts for their academic portfolio. Disc* alumni are prepared to become the next thought leaders and game changers in the shaping of our built environment.


The program is built upon four main platforms. The Urban Innovation Seminar and Global Cities/Global Challenges Seminar establish a theoretical framework for the program. The Guest Lecture Series exposes students to some of the most renowned and forward-thinking researchers and practitioners in the Bay Area. Fieldwork and Site Visits will give students an opportunity to engage directly with the dynamic built and natural environments of the Bay Area, using it as a living laboratory for study.

Finally, the Studio Sessions and Digital Workshops are at the core of the program, honing fundamental making skills and empowering students to craft their own design solutions. Working in teams, students develop a project from design conception to prototyping, and present the final results of their work to instructors and guest critics.


  • Identify and explore the major debates around global urbanization and sustainability.
  • Understand the potentials and limitations of design and technology interventions.
  • Construct a project that spans from concept to design and fabrication.
  • Connect with a network of highly engaged peers, faculty and practitioners.
  • Earn college-level credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript.


DISC STUDENT-MADE VIDEO (credit: Valerie Tse)

Michaela Ballek, Director of Summer Programs
Gabriel Kaprielian, Academic Program Director

University of California, Berkeley

College of Environmental Design

212 Wurster Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720