Interdisciplinary and experiential learning in urban development management education

To understand and deal with real urban development problems, urban planners, designers, and managers need to combine and synthesize a variety of academic and professional knowledge. As our urban challenges grow more complex, learning how to do this effectively becomes ever more important. For educators, this means teaching students how to work in interdisciplinary settings, i.e. how to jointly discover the different disciplinary dimensions of an urban problem, and how to reflectively design courses of action. In this paper, we explore and evaluate the components of such interdisciplinary experiential learning, develop a framework to design and analyse this type of courses, and use it to position and evaluate a specific urban development management course. Results show that, by performing and reflecting upon specific professional roles, the course stimulates students to both integrate different disciplines and reflect on an array of academic and practical insights. Based on our evaluation, we discuss several didactical aspects that may help lecturers to improve their interdisciplinary teaching in urban planning, design, and management courses—particularly when creating learning experiences in an increasingly diverse professional, societal and educational setting.

Chen, Y., Daamen, T., Heurkens, E., & Verheul, W.J. (2019). Interdisciplinary learning and practice-theory integration: Experiences from urban development management education. International Journal of Technology & Design Education.

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