Session 19

19. Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research in Urban Sustainability Projects

As some research-intensive universities encourage interdisciplinary projects as a means to address global sustainability goals and the need to develop students’ competencies to address complex problems in urban systems grows (Taylor et al., 2021), much of the literature discusses the challenges that are experienced by collaborators across disciplines, such as difficulties in communication and grasping interdisciplinary contexts, and underestimating the time, effort and institutional red tape involved. Consequently, interdisciplinary research tends to be limited to the natural sciences where research is often conducted within more structured and close-knit networks. Interdisciplinary research, however, includes many benefits, such as broader networks for students and faculty, students being more engaged in collaborative projects, transferring knowledge across disciplines, etc. This session aims to explore methods (of teaching and research) appropriate for studying urban sustainability that harness the strengths of various disciplines, particularly across the spatial and social sciences. Topics for papers may include the following:

(a) Theoretical approaches to interdisciplinary collaboration for research and/or teaching,

(b) Case studies of applying research methods in interdisciplinary collaborations,

(c) Case studies of interdisciplinary collaborations that make use of approaches such as experiential or project-based learning to train students in methods of urban sustainability research,

(d) How to design interdisciplinary research and teaching within institutional structures.