Session 31

Towards Co-producing Knowledge and Teaching Methodologies in Applied Urban Settings

The decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2004-2014) advocated for Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) to enforce a focus on skills, knowledge and competences needed for the grand societal transformation (UNESCO 2014). As the world is increasingly becoming urban, disciplines educating the future generation shaping the urban have specifically been addressed to educate „change agents“ and to develop tools for sustainable solutions (e.g. UN HABITAT). The New Urban Agenda and the SDGs have reemphasized the urgency of change. HEI across the world, however, have been reluctant to integrate aspects of sustainability into their urban curricula (Bina et al. 2016). Internationally there are a number of urban-focused master programs with a developmental focus. More recent programs follow the didactical aim to facilitate shared learning experiences and to co-produce knowledge in the urban realm in order to develop collaborative research methods for sustainable solutions. „Co-Design “and „Co-Production “in science are meant to bridge the gap between science and practice to solve social and environmental problems. It is based on the perception, that feasible solutions for our complex urban reality can only be developed in partnership and requires knowledge that is co-produced by various actors (e.g. UN-Habitat & GLTN, 2010). Furthermore, as planning is a normative terrain co-production deals with the need to negotiate contested solutions as well as to ensure legitimacy of any research conducted (Polk, 2014).

Our session addresses co-production of knowledge that incorporates the ability to work in a multi-actor environment. This includes the integration of knowledge from different disciplines, but moreover the inclusion of values, knowledge and know-how from non-academic sources such as the private sector as well as civil society – individuals and associations (Klein et al. 2010, Polk 2014). The session takes also a critical look and questions the reliability and applicability of the knowledge being co-produced, as scholars have criticized the researcher-driven project initiation and ownership, highlighted the problems of communication and the time and resource consuming process as well as the often raised expectations (Polk 2014, Winkler 2013, Bénit-Gbaffou 2011).

For this session we are inviting papers that focus on modes of co-production of knowledge in research and teaching. We welcome both papers from practice, as well as theoretical contributions. We are especially looking for empirical examples of co-production of knowledge in the context of real-life settings. Among other themes, papers could address the following topics:

• theoretical conception(s) of collaborative research and teaching, its normativity and its implication for urbanity
• research on actor constellations and power relations in and through collaborative research and teaching
• examples of conflictual or non-conflictual co-production of knowledge in different urban settings
• presentation of teaching methodologies and practices that promote collaborative research and co-production of knowledge in urban settings

 

ABSTRACTS

 

1.Towards co-producing knowledge and teaching methodologies in applied urban settings

Astrid Ley  (University of Stuttgart ITKE, Germany)

Mohamed Salheen  (University of Stuttgart ITKE, Germany)

Josefine Fokdal  (University of Stuttgart ITKE, Germany)

Marwa Abdellatif (Ain Shams University, Egypt)

The decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2004-2014) advocated for Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) to enforce a focus on skills, knowledge and competences needed for the grand societal transformation (UNESCO 2014). As the world is increasingly becoming urban, disciplines educating the future generation shaping the urban have specifically been addressed to educate “change agents” and to develop tools for sustainable solutions (e.g. UN HABITAT). The New Urban Agenda and the SDGs have reemphasized the urgency of change. HEI across the world, however, have been reluctant to integrate aspects of sustainability into their urban curricula (Bina et al. 2016). Internationally there are a number of urban-focused master programs with a developmental focus. More recent programs follow the didactical aim to facilitate shared learning experiences and to co-produce knowledge in the urban realm in order to develop collaborative research methods for sustainable solutions. “Co-Design” and “Co-Production” in science are meant to bridge the gap between science and practice to solve social and environmental problems. It is based on the perception, that feasible solutions for our complex urban reality can only be developed in partnership and requires knowledge that is co-produced by various actors (e.g., UN-Habitat & GLTN, 2010). Furthermore, as planning is a normative terrain co-production deals with the need to negotiate contested solutions as well as to ensure legitimacy of any research conducted (Polk, 2014). Our session addresses co-production of knowledge that incorporates the ability to work in a multi-actor environment. This includes the integration of knowledge from different disciplines, but moreover the inclusion of values, knowledge and know-how from non-academic sources such as the private sector as well as civil society – individuals and associations (Klein et al. 2010, Polk 2014). The session takes also a critical look and questions the reliability and applicability of the knowledge being co-produced, as scholars have criticized the researcher-driven project initiation and ownership, highlighted the problems of communication and the time and resource consuming process as well as the often raised expectations (Polk 2014, Winkler 2013, Bénit-Gbaffou 2011). For this session we are inviting papers that focus on modes of co-production of knowledge in research and teaching. We welcome both papers from practice, as well as theoretical contributions. We are especially looking for empirical examples of co-production of knowledge in the context of real-life settings.

Among other themes, papers could address the following topics:
– theoretical conception(s) of collaborative research and teaching, its normativity and its implication for urbanity
– research on actor constellations and power relations in and through collaborative research and teaching
– examples of conflictual or non-conflictual co-production of knowledge in different urban settings
– presentation of teaching methodologies and practices that promote collaborative research and co-production of knowledge in urban settings

 

2.The in:takt-project – A bottom-up teaching-project towards a transdisciplinary, transformative and collaborative design-approach

Hendrik Weiner  (Raumdialog, Germany)

The in:takt project is a teaching-project as well a bottom-up urban co-creation-space in the inner city of Magdeburg. It takes the approach of ‘research through design’ (Jonas 2007) to create an open co-creation setting and an urban lab-situation. The project is based on a seminar at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg and uses an empty store in Magdeburg’s city center as an interim use. Open to students of all courses of study, it offers a space for self-organization, experimentation, and development. Furthermore, it opens its rooms to all interested people and initiatives of the city: it invites citizens to collaborate. In this way, the project interferes directly in the urban discourse. Main topics are the quality of urban live, sustainability, transformation and the democratic discourse. Per semester, own subprojects are developed and implemented, step by step collaborations are established, initiatives are networked. The project is made possible by a cross-sectoral cooperation between university, local administration and local economy (local housing company (WOBAU). In the sense of a current work report, this proposal aims to illustrate and discuss the following aspects of the project: (1) Challenges and chances of the approach. (2) Conditions and problems of cross-sectoral cooperation as setting for a wished co-production. (3) Topics and formats: developed subprojects and events. (4) Dynamics of self-organization and own space. (5) Cooperations and collaborations with the civic society. (6) Insecurities, precarity of actors and political confrontations (6) Teaching approach ‘teaching through design’ = live projects + theory input. The project is situated in real live, dealing with real problems but in the same time it has it’s own space of creating and testing with self-organization and theoretical inputs. This educational approach has the potential to bring disciplines together, to involve people, to work at local problems together and to create possible futures.

 

3.To Hear the City’s Voice: Enacting Collective Memory in the University Journalism Training

Olena Semenets  (Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics, Ukraine)

During my work at the faculty of journalism, Zaporizhzhia National University (2012–2018) I actualized a large-scale educational project ‘Native City in Terms of Social Communications’. I suggest students take part in it while studying the discipline ‘Theory and History of Social Communications’, the core course in high-school teaching of journalists in modern Ukrainian universities. In this discipline, social communications are considered as a factor of cohesion and sustainable development of society. Now, I develop such an approach at Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics. During teaching this course I apply the methodology of creative research student projects. Following the discursive approach, the cityscape is seen as a discourse, a carrier of collective memory involved in the process of communication. Components of the urban landscape (architecture, monuments, streets, and squares, etc.) serve constituents of the total communication environment. Students combine field research with the study of information resources of libraries, archives, the Internet; sensory analysis, and participatory observation – with creative solutions when preparing media projects. The best students’ creative and research achievements are presented on the website of the virtual learning lab «Media Culture in the Modern City, MCMC» in the section «Discourse of the City» (http://mcmc.tilda.ws/misto). Within the framework of enacted cognition, such educational students’ experience promotes the development of their multimodal perception of the native city, their ability ‘to read’ messages of the urban landscape, to hear voices of the city, and to take its smells and touch it emotionally. Alive cognition is the essential element of the professional competence of modern journalists. Due to such students’ cognitive activity, synergism between cognitive agents and their environment is reached and future professionals’ cognitive abilities gain self-improvement.

 

4.European universities on African soil? Methodological challenges in the ecolonisation of the curriculum of African universities

France Maphosa  (University of Botswana, Botswana)

Colonialism had a profound effect on the various institutions of African countries including the political, educational, legal, economic and educational institutions. It created institutions that were decontextualised from the lived realities, practices and thoughts of the people in the colonized countries. Decolonization therefore transcends political independence and seeks to transform these institutions. This entails, among other things, transforming the way in which the economy is organized, producing knowledge about Africans by Africans, developing Afrocentric principles of management and Africanising the legal system. Decolonization involves adapting African institutions to the realities and conditions of African countries. Education is crucial for any type of society. It preserves lives and maintains the social structure and under certain circumstances, it also promotes social change. While the debate on the decolonization of African universities has been going on for many years, what is lacking in the debate are the methodologies for decolonizing African universities. This paper seeks to contribute to the discussion on how the curriculum at the University of Botswana has been decolonised.

 

5.Mapping urban morphology on OSM for the purpose of Urban analysis teaching. Towards a teaching-learning experiment of Architecture master Students at the University of Biskra, Algeria

Youcef Mokrane  (University of Biskra, Algeria)

Saïd Mazouz  (University of Oum Elboughi, Algeria)

This paper presents a teaching experiment with master students of Architecture at the university of Biskra (Algeria) during the academic year 2020-2021. It consists of using OpenStreetMap platform to map local urban forms in several cities and rural areas in Algeria for the purpose of an “urban analysis” exercise. Through a defined course outline and Intended Learning Outcomes, the main objectives of this experiment are to engage students in using integrated platforms of urban data in the analysis process of an architectural project design as well as engaging them in more understanding objective and sensible links between architectural building projects and environment values. The literature review focuses on using OSM as a pedagogical tool in Architecture school as well as a tool of mapping urban morphology. It discusses whether integrating web GIS could be used in urban analysis methods. The methodology is based on a statistical analysis of student assignment reports. It focuses on a comparison between three data groups; the course outline and assignment data, the environmental data provided by students and the OSM mapped geometries and attributes. Preliminary results show that due to the environmental urban or rural context and the nature of mapped objects themselves, a differential attention on some forms and data than others are observed. Buildings and roads are more precisely mapped than land use areas, open spaces and punctual objects. Attributes of morphological aspects are also more documented than use and functions data. A lack of mapping sensible data such as landscapes, heritage and place particularities are also observed. This first experiment shows the importance of engaging Architecture pedagogy in a reliable process of integrated urban data for the decision-making process towards the architectural design. It shows otherwise the necessity to integrate more sensible and local data in webGIS platforms.

 

6.PPM-ESPRESSO – Project Learning and Transformation through Students´ Projects in a Real-World Lab

Ulrich Holzbaur  (Aalen University, Germany)

Annika Beifuss  (Aalen University, Germany)

Experiential orientation in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) can provide innovative methods to foster sustainable development through formal and informal education. Sustainable Development could be taught as an academic subject without real life impact. However, the orientation towards the future and the shaping of competences needs and deserve a real world impact- And for that, we need innovative methods of teaching and learning. In order to achieve these goals and to ease students´ learning, we developed the ESPRESSO method – Experience Science and Practical Relevance and learn Sustainably via Sustainability Projects. Project learning is more than just doing a project in the course of lectured material. To be successful, project learning needs to be planned in two aspects: The project must succeed with regard to the project result (output, outcome, impact) and the learning outcome as a result of the didactical project including preparation and evaluation. For this, we developed the PPP Method of Prepared Projects. Projects are well-defined tasks to achieve the project goal by a dedicated team within a well-defined time and with limited resources. In education and training, they can help to acquire knowledge and skills in an action-oriented setting. To apply projects successfully, there must be good preparation and a balance between theory and practice. In the context of the PPM method and the ESPRESSO projects, we concentrate on those projects that give students from the first year up to Master´s degree a valuable insight into real world projects, a chance to impact their community and their own personal development. This is an example for transdisciplinary research in a real-world lab and furthermore contributes to (education for) sustainable development outside the university.

 

7.Assessing a teaching methodology to reduce university students’ ecological footprint

Claire Wagner  (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Jeremy Gibberd  (CSIR, South Africa)

One of the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been a call for us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world as well as the sustainability of our current lifestyles. A way of measuring the impact of our lifestyles on natural resources is termed “ecological footprint” (EF). While there is some literature on reducing the EFs of university students, requiring them to develop, implement, assess, and reflect on their own intervention seems to be less well studied. This paper will discuss a teaching methodology used to reduce university students’ EF as part of a master’s course on environmental psychology. The students were required to calculate their EF, develop an intervention to reduce their EF, measure the effectiveness of the intervention and to reflect on their experiences of the process in the form of a diary. This methodology created experiential activities and a curriculum that allowed students to co-create their own solutions with the purpose of building sustainable identities. Furthermore, as potential future workers in the field of environmental psychology, engaging in this process may give the master’s students some insight into the mechanisms of developing, implementing, and measuring interventions to address people’s relationship with nature, specifically reducing people’s EFs in this case.