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In the semester 2, I experienced meaningful courses.

In Housing Alternatives course, I learned about new methods and strategies to research and design. In the past, I only designed a space according to its contexts and typologies. However, in this course, I learned to start from case studies. We analyzed and evaluated the cases by site visiting and BfL. BfL is a useful method to critically think about almost every aspect of a development. Besides, designing a game was an interesting process to collect information. We considered elements of researching at the start of designing. This is a good way for us to consider residents’ demands. Most importantly, I started research on policies and documents in this course even we did not make it deeply. As an urban designer, we need to consider a wide range of the city. We should consider how this project could be developed in practice. In financial part, we need to consider the phasing and funding. This will highly influence the design strategies and building quality.  In typology part, we need fully consider people’s needs. What do different ages of people need? How to design a housing serving for life-cycle? How to interact working spaces into living communities? All the questions like above require us to think more and more. Last but not least, we need to try our best to think about the project in details such as corner streets, materials, and operation plans.

In Cities and Culture course, we traveled to Milan. It was a wonderful experience. We learned about the context of Milan city. In this project, I began to realize the influence of a city’s culture to the design. Our design site is located in the suburban area. We considered the serving range which is for local communities. And agriculture, as an important industry in Milan, was considered in our concept. From this course, I began to pay more attention to the city culture during traveling. For example, when I traveled to Vienna, I focused on its art and multi-cultured background. I observed the public spaces and thought about their working mechanism.

In Independent Research course, I chose the topic of Children’s places in informal settlements. The reason I chose it is I am really interested in the research of public spaces and disadvantaged groups. In my opinion, urban designers have a responsibility to take care the future of our whole world. In terms of the course, I learned how to write a plan of research, how to search for related literature, and how to use them in my own research. Frankly speaking, I fully look forwards to the next semester’s research and design work.

Lastly, I enjoyed this blogging experience. I have written four blogs involving case visiting of co-housing, designing the participation game, a trip to Vienna, and research on child-friendly cities. I  chose these topics according to the most interesting and meaningful aspect that I thought in every course. I tried to show the whole aspects of our studying experience. I love this experience and hope to share ideas with more people.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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