AESOP Congress, 10-14.07.2018, Gothenburg, Sweden

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H. Chang: Stakeholder workshops as a pedagogy for experiential learning in collaborative planning education: An action research at the Department of Urban Planning, NCKU, Taiwan (photo credits: me)

This was perhaps one of the most interesting conferences I have ever attended. I followed the track of education since day 01 and I was amazed by the high levels of participation and engagement until the end. I met a lot of interesting people and I am very pleased to have worked with them, shared my thoughts with them and discussed with them on the future of urban planning education.

I was very excited to have been able to gain some relevance compared to what we have been doing, especially on transdisciplinary learning. The Round table on Friday was a great experience for me. I think that all of us present agreed on being advocates of collaborative practices, social inclusion and cultural empathy as basic prerequisites for co-creation in urban planning and planning education.

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Round table brainstorming on the competencies of the future urban planners (photo credits: R. Rocco)

 

 

the age of scenius

Scenius

Scenius, or Communal Genius_Scenius is like genius, only embedded in a scene rather than in genes. Brian Eno suggested the word to convey the extreme creativity that groups, places or “scenes”  can occasionally generate. His actual definition is:  “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

Individuals immersed in a productive scenius will blossom and produce their best work. When buoyed by scenius, you act like genius. Your like-minded peers, and the entire environment inspire you.

The geography of scenius is nurtured by several factors:

  • Mutual appreciation: Risky moves are applauded by the group, subtlety is appreciated, and friendly competition goads the shy. Scenius can be thought of as the best of peer pressure.
  • Rapid exchange of tools and techniques: As soon as something is invented, it is flaunted and then shared. Ideas flow quickly because they are flowing inside a common language and sensibility.
  • Network effects of success: When a record is broken, a hit happens, or breakthrough erupts, the success is claimed by the entire scene. This empowers the scene to further success.
  • Local tolerance for the novelties: The local “outside” does not push back too hard against the transgressions of the scene. The renegades and mavericks are protected by this buffer zone.

Scenius can erupt almost anywhere, and at different scales: in a corner of a company, in a neighborhood, or in an entire region.

 

2008, Wired Magazine, full article available here/ Image available here

The “Connected Curriculum”

CONNECTED CURRICULUM

UCL’s twenty-year vision and a wholesale commitment to changing programs of study/ its goal is to enable students to participate in research and inquiry throughout their education/ allows students to make connections both vertically across a program’s year groups and horizontally across disciplinary divides, even beyond the university setting/ research-based education aspires to widen the notion of what constitutes legitimate research and who has the authority to contribute to it.

The University is changing: new ways of knowing in order to thrive in a unknown future/ in the age of supercomplexity a new epistemology for the university awaits, one that is open, bold, engaging, accessible, and conscious of its own insecurity (Barnett)

SIX DIMENSIONS OF CONNECTIVITY

  • students are encouraged to connect with staff and learn about ongoing research
  • connected sequence of research activities throughout students’ programs (scaffolding)
  • research is inherently social/ students are encouraged to connect their learning across the subjects they are taking and with the wider world
  • students are encouraged to connect academic learning with workplace learning and develop a full range of professional attributes and skills
  • assessments: critical questions concerning their forms or types of skills they address
  • interpersonal connections between people from different disciplines, cultures and backgrounds

 

References

Carnell, B., 2017. Towards a connected curriculum in architectural education: research-based education in practice. In Charrette 4(1) Spring 2017, pp. 14-26

Image available here

 

ZARCH Publication now available!

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I am very pleased to see our articlePedagogical approaches to embodied topography: a workshop that unravels the hidden and imaginary landscapes of Elaionas,‘ get published in ZARCH Journal and I am also very happy to share this with you. It is based on a collaborative project that began in 2015 with Prof. Nelly Marda and Christos Kakalis from the University of Newcastle along with the students of our postgraduate course in NTUA.

The article highlights the importance of mapping in urban design and uses the concept of embodied topography to describe how activating the human body through a series of sensory motor tasks can help individuals immerse themselves in the landscape to acquire a better understanding of the urban phenomena. This process is presented here as a tool of mapping and managing the complexity of the urban landscape as it enables the individuals to recover the more hidden or even imaginary aspects of the city and their own relation to it.

As this is an ongoing research I hope that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are doing with more people involved in this kind of research in urban design. So, feel free to comment and write back your own experiences on the matter.

ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, Num. 8, image available here

Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education by Joongsub Kim

 Architecture

This paper underlines the potential urban design has for architectural curricula. It also explains why an urban design course is a better choice for the experimental study of architectural blended learning as online technology enables the inclusion of a greater number of resources and stakeholders to be part of the learning process.

 

Urban design (replaced ‘civic design’ in 1960’s) plays a role in not only establishing the infrastructure and the underpinnings for building design, but also in bridging the gap between architecture and other disciplines that apply principles of urbanism in various ways (…) Urban design is an interdisciplinary profession, integrating urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental studies, and the social sciences (…) Urban design is, arguably, more process-oriented

 

Four approaches to advancing architectural education and pedagogy:

  • facilitating: promoting consensus about design/place making (place  intended a. as a set of visual attributes/ b. as product/ c. as process/ d. as meaning) is inherently multi-faceted, urban design incorporates more players and interests and UD is more likely to offer diverse tools to handle such a process/ place as meaning deals with subjective perceptions as translated from group experiences/ many scattered views maybe combined into a more unified, shared vision through consensus-based design, architects act as facilitators rather than directors
  • grounding: promoting logical underpinning, inquiry by design, and evidence-based design/ managing and making sense of complex information (process based)/ studying how a place looks-functions-is influenced, how it makes people feel (the spirit of a place)/ basic techniques of grounding are to be found in contextualised findings (infrastructure-networksbuilt env.-biogenic env.)/ designers in this case respond to questions asked during study-they keep searching for a design rationale
  • convening: promoting social design/ desirable places provide us with public meaning and positive environmental sociability/ it pointedly addresses the needs of underrepresented individuals in design- service learning and thinking of architecture as public art/ this approach envisions place as a final ‘product’ with tangible attributes
  • designing therapeutically: promoting a holistic environmental sensibility/ desirable places foster the holistic well-being of place users, urban designers reduce environmental stresses/ New Urbanism and Green Building/ a desirable sustainable design or sustainable urbanism goes beyond dealing with physical and environmental considerations, rating systems, and energy concerns to address social and psychological concerns

 

References

  • Joongsub Kim, 2009. Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education, in ARCC Journal Vol 6, issue 1

Image available here

academic V applied knowledge

ACADEMIC-APPLIED

It is a second-order form of knowledge seeking abstractions and generalizations based on reasoning and evidence. It has four major components:

  • transparency: the source can be traced and verified
  • codification: the knowledge can be consistently represented in some form that enables interpretation by someone other than the originator
  • reproduction: knowledge can be reproduced or have multiple copies
  • communicability: knowledge must be in a form that can be communicated and challenged by others

applied knowledge is knowing how to do things, and hence by definition tends to be multi-disciplinary while academic knowledge is knowledge that goes beyond the here and now knowledge of everyday experience to a higher plane of
understanding (Gilbert)

It is equally important also to enable students to develop the ability to know how to find, analyze, organize and apply information/content within their professional and personal activities, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to be flexible and adaptable in developing new knowledge and skills. All this is needed because of the explosion in the quantity of knowledge in any professional field that makes it impossible to memorize or even be aware of all the developments that are happening in the field, and the need to keep up-to-date within the field after graduating.

 

References

Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning Vancouver BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-9952692-0-0., pp. 59-64

Image: Eden Morfaux, ‘Etude d’après Saint Jérôme dans son étude, Antonello da Messina, 1475’, 2008, available here

Design and Science_Cross

DESIGN-SCIENCE

  • 1920’s search for scientific design products: Van Doesburg attested that modernity was hostile to subjective speculation
  • 1960’s concern for a scientific design process: the 1962 conference on design methods in London marked the launch of design methodology as a field of inquiry (…) the movement sought to base the design process on objectivity and rationality (…) Fuller called for a design science revolution, Simon plead for a science of design
  • The new ‘Design Methods Movement’ developed through a series of conferences in the 1960s and 70s. The first design methods or methodology books also appeared in this period – Hall (1962), Asimow (1962), Alexander (1964), Archer (1965), Jones (1970), Broadbent (1973) – and the first creativity books – Gordon (1961), Osborn (1963).
  • 1970’s marked a backlash against design methodology (…) Alexander and Jones renounced the machine language, the attempt to ‘fix’ the world in a logical framework (…) there had also been a lack of success in the application of design methods to everyday design practice (…) design and planning problems were characterized as ‘wicked’ instead of ‘tame’.
  • 1973, Rittel saved Design Methodology by his proposal of Generations of Methods. He suggested that what had been developed in the 60’s was only the first generation of methods (systematic, rational) and that a second one was beginning to emerge (recognition of appropriate solution types and an argumentative participatory process in which designers are partners with the problem-owners -clients-).
  • 1980’s-1990’s emergence of new journals and books of design research, theory and methodology [Hubka (1982), Pahl and Beitz (1984), French (1985), Cross
    (1989), Pugh (1991)] (…) and through a series of international conferences- aka ICED, ASME and VDI (…) 1980’s Design:Science: Method Conference signaled the time to move beyond the simplistic comparisons and distinctions between design and science (…) the epistemology of design had little to gain for the disarray of the epistemology of science (…) AI developments
  • 2000’s signals perhaps the reemergence of design science concerns

  • Scientific Design: it refers to modern industrialized design (…) it was based on the assumption that that modern industrial design had become too complex for intuitive methods (…) through the reliance of modern design upon scientific knowledge, design made science visible utilizing a mix of bioth intuitive andnon-intuitive design methods
  • Design Science: term coined by B. Fuller or Gregory in 1965 (…) recognize laws of design, develop rules (…) logically connected knowledge in the area of design (…) DS to address the problem of determining and categorizing all regular phenomena (…) DS derives from the applied knowledge of the natural sciences appropriate information (…) an explicitly organized, rational and wholly systematic approach to design
  • Science of Design: study of designing may be a scientific activity (Grant) (…) a federation of subdisciplines having design as the subject of their cognitive interests (Gasparski and Strzalecki) (…) it is the study of design; its principles, practices and procedures (…) it is the body of work that attempts to improve our understanding of design through scientific methods of interpretation.
  • Design as a Discipline: an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners bring to situations of uncertainty, instability and value conflict (Schon) (…) study of design as an interdisciplinary study accessible to all those involved in the creative activity of making the artificial world (simon) (…) design studied on its own terms, within its own rigorous culture

 

References

Nigel Cross, 2001. Designerly ways of knowing: design discipline versus design science. In Design Issues 17(3), pp.49-55

Nigel Cross, 1993. A history of Design Methodology. In Design Methodology and Relationships with Science, pp. 15-27, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Image available here