Teaching Approach and Methods

Values of the Urbanist/ Urban Planner and Designer

A discussion on values attached to the activities of planning and design with water is central to this course.

The objective of the Summer School is to introduce students to strategic spatial planning, through the elaboration of a simple spatial plan for a city district in The Netherlands, having climate adaptation, water resiliency and sustainability as main guidelines. The aim is to provide students with a summarized experience on spatial plan and strategy, making use of short practical exercises and ample theoretical input to build up a simulated planning and design cycle.

The teaching approach is very much the one used at the Department of Urbanism at TU Delft, where research and design go hand in hand. Students are expected to actively participate in practical exercises and to reflect on the theory. Research, in this case, is done through a collective effort to understand the context and the theoretical framework, in cooperation with scholars, policy makers, designers, planners and other actors involved. We strive to make the exercise relevant by partnering up with real stakeholders, such as the city of the Hague, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Delta Metropol and other significant institutions and individuals. There is a good dose of self-learning involved and we expect students to be active, independent and critical, yet we encourage an attitude of cooperation rather than competition.

The Summer School focuses on an area of the waterfront in the City of The Hague in order to provide students with a test bed where to apply knowledge and skills acquired during the course.

Description of Teaching Steps:

     Previously to trip + DAYS 1 to 3 of the workshop:

Students will be invited to develop a comprehensive analysis of area X, taking into account:

  • its geographical make-up and position in the water system
  • its social, environmental and economic trends,
  • the spatial characteristics of the existing built environment, natural system and
  • the position of the area in the urban, metropolitan and regional contexts in relation to, and connected with water issues.

Students will be also invited to explore spatial planning and design innovations, good and bad practices, good and bad examples of plan making, urban design and management in relation to water sustainability and resilience.

Activities involve: directed literature exploration (issues of planning and design with water, based on papers provided by the Summer School), directed mapping, site visits, mapping exercises and talks with officials and specialists. Tools used are directed literature exploration, maps, group discussion and self-learning

DAY 4: Students will be encouraged to define the challenges and opportunities offered by area X through SWOT analysis and mapping exercises, with emphasis on issues of water management and design/ flood risk management/ sustainability of water resources and sustainability and resilience of urban environments in face of climate change

Activities involve: SWOT workshop, mind mapping exercises, mapping and group discussions and self-learning

DAYS 4 to 8: Based on their findings, students will be asked to elaborate a draft strategic spatial plan composed of one or several alternative visions, in which the policies and spatial interventions that are used to achieve a particular vision are explained in text and image (text and designs) and through presentations. Students will be also encouraged to map the stakeholders involved in their plan and to connect them to the policies and interventions proposed. In day 6, we will carry out presentations of preliminary results.

Activities involve: workshops on strategy-making, drawing and sketching exercises, mind-mapping and role-play exercise on stakeholders and the roles of planners and designers in relation to stakeholders, to society and to the task at hand.

DAYS 9 and 10: Students will be asked to explain and present the logic of their plans orally and through visualization (posters and slide presentations) and to support their proposals with evidence and references

Activities involve: putting together a presentation that describes the main steps of the process of plan making and the preliminary results. Students will be encouraged to prepare not only a slide presentation, but to express their ideas through posters, drawings, maps, photographs and other graphic materials, as well as to explain their ideas orally and textually.

 POST-SUMMER SCHOOL: Students will be asked to format their materials according to a template provided to them and to submit their results in the form of a mini-report, where the crucial steps are explained textually and graphically. The idea is to collect presentations in a bundle and publish results on-line.

Please, view a slide presentation on the 2014 Summer School here:

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