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 Rich Gold matrix

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The map—a rectangular plot—was parceled into four quadrants, each devoted to a unique view by which to read, and act upon, the world: Science, Engineering, Design and Art. According to (John) Maeda, to each plot a designated mission: to Science, exploration; to Engineering, invention; to Design, communication; to Art, expression. Describing the four “hats” of creativity, Rich Gold had originally drawn the matrix-as-cartoon to communicate four discrete embodiments of creativity and innovation. Mark your mindset, conquer its little acre, and settle in. Gold’s view represents four ways-of-being that are distinctly different from one another, separated by clear intellectual boundaries and mental dispositions. Like the Four Humors, each is regarded as its own substance, to each its content and its countenance. Stated differently, if you’re a citizen in one, you’re a tourist in another.

 

References

Oxman, N., 2016. Age of Entanglement. In JoDS, Vol. 1, January 2016. Mentioned here

Image available here

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

From Mode 2 to Mode 3 Knowledge

COMPLEXITY 3

On one hand there is the educational task of preparing students for a complex world. On the other, there is the educational task of coming to a position where one can prosper in a situation of multiple interpretations where incomplete judgements or decisions must be made either because of a. the press of time, b. insufficient evidence, c. outcomes are unpredictable/ all above forms are not mutually exclusive and there is no security available

Mode 2 Knowledge responds to task no 1, thus, problem-solving in situ/creative knowing in situ. In the end one has to rely on one’s capacity for seeing a way forward in a particular setting. This form of knowledge is necessarily creative because of its particularity. However, the character of the complex world must always elude our attempts to understand it and the central idea of Mode 2 Knowledge that with sufficient creativity and imagination a solution can be designed is problematic.

Mode 3 Knowledge beckons that knowing the world is a matter of producing epistemological gaps. Knowing produces further uncertainty. In supercomplexity, the world is not just unknowable but also indescribable. So, the educational task is not an epistemological task but an ontological one; it is the task of enabling individuals to prosper amid supercomplexity.

 

References

Barnett, R., 2004. Learning for an unknown future. In Higher Education Research and Development, Vol. 23, No. 3, August 2004.

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

 

#The City we need

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Twitter Chat with Roberto Rocco/ Tuesday 30.01, 14:00-15:00 (GMT +3). Extract from the brief:

The way in which planning and design are generally taught does not cater for the need to create sustainable, fair and inclusive cities. Many planning and design schools follow an old paradigm of architectural education that privileges individual genius and design creativity and do not prepare students to understand the implications of social, economic and environmental sustainability, spatial justice and the right to the city (…) This poses the question: what can spatial planning and design schools actually DO in order to help deliver the city we need? What do we need to teach, and how, in order to be able to deliver enlightened professionals who are able to work in a transdisciplinary way, incorporating grassroots participation and multiple stakeholders in planning and design processes that embrace complexity and are embedded in local social, political, economic and cultural landscapes?

Organization: The World Urban Campaign/ Image available here

Funding the Cooperative City by D. Patti & L. Polyak

FUNDING THE COOP

In the context of increasing pressure on public administrations to become entrepreneurial, financial capital has had a growing role in shaping cities across the world (…) In the financialised city, buildings are “no longer something to use, but to own (with the hope of increased asset-value, rather than use-value, over time).” When the exchange-value of buildings gains prominence over their use-value, they lose all relationship with actual needs and become acting “similarly to how financial products are being created and sold that have lost any connection with real production or a real economy” (…) In the context of the crisis, many local and cultural communities witnessed their spatial and economic resources diminishing with the drainage of funding and the withdrawal of institutional support (…) as a response, many of these communities set themselves to create spaces and services on their own (…) These new forms of governance contributed to the formal or informal extension of the field of actors in urban development and to the outsourcing of “former public tasks and services to volunteer organisations, community associations, non-profit corporations, foundations, and private firms” (…) The engagement of non-institutional and non-profit actors in renovating, operating and managing civic spaces brought participation to a new level: instead of expressing consent or dissent related to a planned development project, or even contributing to the program or design of a new urban area, many communities took the initiative into their own hands and became developers – urban pioneers, spatial entrepreneurs or city makers – themselves. 

 

References

Daniela Patti & Levente Polyak (eds.), 2017. Funding the Cooperative City: Community Finance and the Economy of Civic Spaces, Vienna: Cooperative City Books

Funding the Cooperative City is a research and advocacy project initiated by the Rome- Vienna-Budapest-based organisation Eutropian.

Image available here

Circular Buiksloterham report

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This report contains the final results of a study on Buiksloterham’s potential to
become a leading example of Circular City development in Amsterdam. The study was commissioned and executed by a consortium of local stakeholders who are active in the area of Buiksloterham and see its potential as a global example for a new kind of sustainable urban development (…) Though Buiksloterham is unique in Amsterdam, it also has many features that make it a good case study for the transformation of other post-industrial neighborhoods in cities around the world (…) Its polluted lands and open spaces can become the center of the implementation of new clean technologies and a hub for the closure of urban material cycles. The activities needed to close these local material flows can be used as a driver for local industry and the strengthening of local social networks.

Action Plan

  • Designate Buiksloterham as an official experimental zone or Living Lab
  • Develop an inclusive governance and management structure for Buiksloterham
  • Create new incentive structures and financial vehicles
  • Build capacity for urban sensing and open data
  • Implement a Circular Neighborhood Action Plan

Technical Interventions

  • Fully Renewable Energy Supply
  • Water Innovation
  • Alternative Mobility
  • Soil as Natural Capital
  • Close the Loop

Full Report and Image available here

Artist (Residency) and the City (article)

ARTISTS AND THE CITY

Arrow Factory founders Pauline Yao, Rania Ho and Wang Wei standing in their space, mid-bricking, August 2017.

Introduction by Livia Alexander

Art and artists today are identified as a key instrument in urban development and community planning (…) Artists are being invited to engage in the most unexpected corporate settings, recognized as critical, outside-the-box thinkers as business entrepreneurs are enlisting their services to propel innovation and growth. Government officials and departments are deploying artists to address pressing problems of public policy and governance. These developing practices frequently take the form of artists working in newly formed residencies situated in communities, business places, government offices and a wide range of other settings (…) Are there ways for art programs to build the communities, and wealth for the people already living in them?

The article sets out to respond via five examples:

  • Community-Based Artist Residencies in China, by Kira Simon Kennedy
  • The African Artists’ Foundation, by Azu Nwagbogu
  • The Sharing Economy that Keeps Brooklyn Artists Going, by Livia Alexande
  • Social Drawing as a Model for Community-First Engagement, by Francesca Fiore &
  • Amsterdam: Counting our Precarious Blessings?, by Nat Muller

Full article available here