The importance of site visits cannot be underestimated. We have visited Vlaardingen (the case site), Rotterdam, Delft, the Maeslantkering and have learned a lot by observing spaces and being explained about the mechanics of the water systems in the Netherlands in locu. However, there is only a limited understanding of processes and trends one can have by observing urban realities. Other forms of research are also necessary (lectures, interviews, papers, open source databases, statistics), all must be used to understand what are the driving forces behind urban development.
The objective of this exercise is to explore and unfold core concepts for Urbanism. For the purpose of this exercise, we consider FIVE crucial aspects of the discipline: KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, TOOLS, QUALITIES and VALUES. We have decided to do this because of the excessive emphasis on tools and skills given in Urbanism studies. These are eminently practical dimensions of Urbanism. It is crucial to teach relevant skills and tools. However, we consider that KNOWLEDGE is the foundation on which all is built (no pun intended). Without knowledge (practical and theoretical), skills and tools are not able to fulfil their tasks fully.
Furthermore, we believe that a discussion on VALUES (of the profession and of the Urbanist him or herself) and QUALITIES (of the Urbanist) are essential elements for professionals to operate in the world. TU Delft also emphasizes the ETHICAL dimensions of the discipline, which we try to explore through the discussion of values, qualities and knowledge.
MIND MAPS are a visual/graphic way of brainstorming, unfolding concepts and expanding ideas. We think this is an ideal technique to tackle the challenge of visual and textual communication, which is central to urbanism.