Educating the critical urban planner and designer: a didactical experience in an area of practice
The stretched scope of urbanism, with its large range of inputs drawn from various disciplines, seems to create confusion about the nature and the form of an education in urbanism at university level. We verify the existence of several communities of practice who value practice and theory differently. Assessing the work of students becomes an arduous task, because different communities of practice value different things and seem to see little relevance in aspects that do not comply with their own views. In this way, practitioners seem to see less value in textual expression, while academics seem to struggle to value a practiceoriented education and spatial strategies outside a structured discourse that grounds the design. This paper presents an experience in the MSc program in urbanism where we believe the desired academic standards are attained. It describes on the one hand the aspirations we have for the urbanism program with respect to academic standards, and on the other hand the concrete outcomes of the methodological and R&D project programs. This paper describes how the education program tackles the relationship between research, planning and design by acknowledging that there are different value systems in the different fields of urbanism, and the way we have dealt with this issue in our MSc program.