Course code LAA341

LAA341 The urban landscape as a social arena

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2015 - 2016 .

Course responsible: Deni Ruggeri
Teachers: Tone Helen Lindheim, Ola Asbjørn Bettum, Anne-Karine Halvorsen Thoren
ECTS credits: 20
Faculty: Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Minimum 10 - maximum 40 students
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel,
Course frequency: Odd years
First time: Study year 2013-2014
Preferential right:
Master level, LA students have priority in the course. The course is also open to students from M-BYREG (4-5 year)
Course contents:

European Cities have changed greatly over the past decades a result of global and European fluxes of people migrating to cities around the continent. Cities are densifying and there is a greater need for meeting places including safe environment for play, recreation and socialization. This has led no a new approach, underscored by the European Landscape Convention--which recommends that that people themselves must have their say on issues concerning their landscapes.  As a result, it is important for planners and designers to develop new tools and processes to evaluate and propose changes to the physical structure of our urban landscapes so that they may support a variety of needs and ways of engaging in public space. This course introduces students to the theories, best practices and processes employed by planners and designers in gaining a deeper understanding of the socio-economic and cultural challenges and opportunities offered by our increasingly diverse urban settings. This year we will focus on the city as it perceived and used by children and adolescents. This will involve collaboration with the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture and the use of the Barnetråkk (childtrack) methodology.

This course consists of three main work tasks. Task one provides students with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge base and runs throughout the whole semester. This task will include literature on participation and social use of public space and a review of relevant case studies¿either processes or projects at a range of scales. Review of the literature will include an overview of the ways in which designers and planners communicate the results of these processes to citizens and the larger public. Task two translates theories into practice through the organization and performance of workshop activities in selected pilot municipalities engaging residents in crafting of group visions for the communities involved. Task two will include group and plenary discussions, information collection and fieldwork within the communities involved in this year¿s course. These visions will be synthesized into a  `game board,¿ a synthesis of each group¿s findings pointing at specific interventions that will become the focus of task 3.  In task 3 students will work individually on a project based on the vision developed in task two and during their fieldwork.

Tasks one and two will be worth approximately 1/3 of the total ECTS and task 3 will be worth 2/3 of the whole ECTS.

Results of the group visions presented in task two will inform the selection of individual projects, which will be presented at the end of phase 3 as an A3 report (PDF file of a maximum of 20 pages) and two A1 format boards. Students will be asked to produce a physical model of their detailed design (to be negotiated with the instructors).

Learning outcome:

Knowledge: The student will achieve advanced knowledge of: a) how landscape architecture can help create better social arenas in urban contexts; b) processes and methods for identifying a community¿s collective goals and visions for a socially diverse and democratic public space;  c) innovative design and planning strategies incorporating the needs and perceptions of a variety of users; d) best practices in the engagement of users in the design and planning process; e) ethics of designing and planning with users¿ needs in mind,

Professional skills: Students should be able a) analyze existing theories, methods and interpretations within landscape architecture field; b) apply the knowledge they will have gathered to problems of landscape architecture and urban design; c) analyze, critically synthesize and communicate their process; d) conduct work in teams and independently.

General competence: Students will be able a) learn how to manage his/her own time; b) reflect on and improve their professional practice; c) develop new knowledge and skills, carry out advanced design and planning tasks; d) show evidence of critical thinking and awareness of limitations and possibilities of one¿s own work; e) an ability to synthesize complex issues in concise and eloquent ways.

Learning activities:
Lectures, workshops / seminars, field trips and fieldwork, project work in groups and individually, presentations and critiques in plenary sessions and individual supervision.
Teaching support:
Students supervision both individually and in groups. Small group pin-ups and class-wide reviews.

Gehl, J., & Svarre, B. (2013). How to study public life. Island Press.

Hester, R. T. (2006). Design for ecological democracy. Cambridge, MA: Mit Press.

Additional readings will be assigned once the course begins.

3-year basic block in the study landscape architecture or equivalent.
Recommended prerequisites:
3-year basic block in the study landscape architecture or equivalent.
Mandatory activity:
Group workshops and literature discussions. Tasks associated with the project must be submitted and approved. Includes group  and individual tasks, individual contract/schedule, group vision and individual final project. Excursions, fieldwork and plenary critiques.
All compulsory assignments have to be completed and approved. Evaluation will be based on individual project.
Nominal workload:

The course is structured as a sequence of work tasks (see course description).

Tasks one and two will be worth 1/3 of the total ECTS and task 3 will be worth 2/3 of the whole ECTS.

Entrance requirements:
Minimum Requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (general admission)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
Lectures 35 hours; workshops 25 hours; excursions 10 hours; fieldwork 40 hours; plenary critiques 40 hours; individual/group supervisions 6 hours.
Students are in charge of their individual project programming and have the opportunity to choose their own individual focus (detail design, planning and management strategies)
An external examiner will approve of the course content and evaluate the final work submitted by each student.
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått