Deciding Interventions in Urban Development: A Practical Guide to Strategic Design

This course offers guidelines for deciding interventions in Urban Development, given conflicting and often competing needs and aspirations amongst stakeholders. Its objectives are threefold: first, to ensure that the social and economic development of place is integral to its spatial development. Second, to establish criteria with which to decide and evaluate the broader strategic value of urban projects and programmes based on consideration for ethics, resilience and sustainability, and the changes these require in professional roles and responsibilities. Third and consequentially, to develop a set of guidelines for practitioners, which will be tested using each student’s on-going studio work or selected project.

The course is designed for those wishing to become skilled working with informality in development practice, and to broaden their client base to organisations and institutions engaged in International Development. Whilst its focus is on cities in the global south, its principles apply internationally.

The course is structured into 6 phases of workshop based activities, each supported by lectures and seminars, and each culminating in guidelines for practice. Phase 1 will outline the context of issues – looking, listening and building a narrative of place. Phase 2 – in search of beginnings, will focus on getting started, deciding what to provide (P), a catalyst project; what it will enable (E); how it might adapt and change in time (A); how it will be scaled up and sustained (S) – PEAS. It will outline a plan of action to improve quality of life and the efficiency of housing, services and utilities, given the context presented in Phase 1. In Phase 3, students will consider the ethics of their interventions and devise a code of conduct accordingly. Phase 4 will give guidance on sustainability and resilience and will introduce a model for evaluating both. Phase 5 will introduce a simple model for monitoring and evaluating the progress of projects and programmes with the participation of all stakeholders. In the final phase students will have the opportunity to test and develop their guidelines, which they will have prepared in phases 1 to 5, to evaluate and add value to their on-going studio work or selected project.

Grading: attendance 20% assignment 80%