UCL Urban Laboratory


Global Constructs: a platform for comparative, collaborative urban education

The Master of Urban Design program at RMIT is a new, post-professional program designed to encourage pedagogical and professional exchange across global sites. Based in Europe, Australia and Asia, the creation of urban knowledge and innovative practice through a global framework is its primary ambition. Projects are curated across three designated cities, currently Melbourne, Barcelona and Ho Chi Minh City, to highlight an issue of local and global significance and establish a collective pedagogical agenda. Integrated coursework is developed around this agenda, through four components: a design studio, an intensive workshop, a research seminar and public symposium. Each component is designed to encourage particular modes of engagement with the city - through research-led design, multicultural collaboration, historical and technical analysis and interdisciplinary discourse, respectively. 

The program itself attends to issues of economic and infrastructural development in transitioning cities, at a precinct scale. For example, public transport precincts, integrated industrial zones or urban waterfronts all raise particular, localised questions while fostering new design approaches and producing urban knowledge that is transferable globally. The coursework takes place both remotely and directly; through an online workspace platform ('e:studio') and through intensive, on-site workshops led by local practitioners, academics and stakeholders. In this way the global program framework also encourages objective and subjective urban engagement - an aerial, analytical perspective coupled with an embedded, visceral experience. This presentation will critically evaluate this format: discuss particular tools and approaches developed for it, compare Asian, European and Australian urban outcomes, and raise questions about what is engendered or prevented in the process.

15 minute paper by Gretchen Wilkins (RMIT). 

Session one: 10.30 - 11.50, Thursday 17 September, Darwin Lecture Theatre. 

Image: Global Urban Design

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