Planning studio in the 21st century: Educating leaders for a complex world
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Context and purpose: Urban and environmental planning has a substantial impact on social, economic and environmental welfare and getting it right is a complex challenge facing governments, the private sector and communities around Australia (Australian Government 2011). Over time, the complexity of planning has grown and planners today are asked to address a wide range of pressing problems in a context of constantly changing community preferences and demands. Some of the issues confronting planners include managing and responding to significant population growth, an ageing population and demographic change, urban congestion, transportation of goods and services, ensuring adequate energy and water supplies, adapting to climate change, managing hazards, responding to disasters, preserving natural and cultural heritage and the growing expectation that residents should be consulted on changes to their neighbourhood (Australian Government 2011: XXI). Planning studio pedagogy (a student-centred, collaborative, inquiry-based/problem-based pedagogy based on a real world project) is the unique, valuable learning and teaching method used to educate young planners. Planning studio pedagogy teaches students how to successfully work, in a collaborative way, with the aforementioned wicked, complex issues. It also enables students to become influential leaders in their field. Project aims: This project reviewed planning studio learning and teaching and informed the design of an innovative curriculum and planning studio at scale model that was trialled in one of Griffith University’s planning studios, at undergraduate level. The project aims are expressed in a key pedagogical question: How to improve learning and teaching practice for enhanced student and professional outcomes and also address current institutional priorities (large class sizes (60+), retention, student experience/engagement/sense of purpose and workplace readiness)? Impact and findings: This planning discipline scoping project has had significant impact on the repositioning of studio-based courses at Griffith University. Studio pedagogy is at the core of the revised Urban and Environmental Planning Programs, with studios comprising 50 per cent of all core courses. This project has established a specific planning studio curriculum framework for the delivery of all planning studios at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
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Educational Administration, Management and Leadership