Increasingly we are expected to understand and solve complex, multidimensional problems in our professional lives. In order to do this, we need to understand how to communicate with and incorporate knowledge, points of view, beliefs, and preferences from a wide range of sources with diverse disciplinary, and cultural underpinnings. The built environment, and where and how we live in and use this environment, offers a concrete reality and set of problems that embody the nexus of social, political, economic, physical, and natural systems and artifacts.
The Metropolis and Mobility faculty team is developing a multidisciplinary learning and exploration platform for faculty and students to build a stronger understanding of the description, analysis, and solution development of metropolitan issues related to how and where we build and use land. This platform ultimately will consist of: 1) a unifying metropolitan issue theme/problem identified every three years; 2) existing courses on campus that have linkages in content and learning objectives, where the content is relevant to the theme, and where modules of interaction among and between courses can be integrated to provide students with the opportunity to develop multidisciplinary, cultural sensitive, and globally aware communication and visualization skills to better understand complex issues and prepare to work in interdisciplinary problem solving teams; 3) opportunity for studio and special topics courses to align with the metropolis and mobility theme; 4) an international field work component offered in the summer that brings students and faculty from multiple disciplines together to apply the content and skills learned in the mosaic of course offered during the year.
For the first three-year phase of this UC Forward approach to teaching we propose the following:
1) The metropolis and mobility theme will be aligned with an existing interdisciplinary research and teaching effort of core team consisting of Rebecca Williamson, PhD and Registered Architect (SAID); Olivier Parent, PhD (COB); and Carla Chifos, PhD, AICP, (SOP). This team is engaged in an international partnership effort to explore the linkages between Mobility, Energy, and Urban Form, a topic of great relevance for the built environment and our quality of life as cities around the world struggle with the choices of transportation infrastructure investments, population preferences as to how to move around daily, decisions for land use, design choices for buildings and neighborhoods, and responses to both the economic and environmental issues surrounding energy sources and use (supply and demand). These are the components of a complex and intricate nexus of physical, economic, political, and social forces and outcomes.
2) The mosaic of courses that will create a foundation for learning and discovery opportunities is presented the accompanying table, which details the impact on more than 280 students in cross-listed courses and 500 students in courses including a module related to the theme of mobility.
3) The faculty team members will work within their individual departments and across their network of partnerships to add new and special courses to the existing opportunities
4) The program of international fieldwork courses will take place during two summers.
These courses are integrated with an existing and emerging research and teaching partnerships with institutions in France and Brazil.