A transatlantic approach to urbanisms of inclusion promises learning from context-specific conditions rooted in the particular urban histories, cultures and policies of the two continents in order to develop a curriculum which addresses contemporary urban development challenges, processes and conditions equitably. Urbanism, urban design, planning, landscape architecture, strategic design and planning, and urban ecology have emerged as key fields for graduate education and research due to a nexus of these pressing challenges the world faces today. There is ample evidence in literature as well as in educational and professional practice that conventional, mainstream discourses and practices of architecture and planning —while engaging urban, territorial and socio-ecological conditions— are experiencing the limits of conventional approaches. What this partnership forcefully brings is the potential of the expanded field and inclusive nature of urban design and urbanism in its multiple manifestations.
‘Design’ provides a connective nexus of teaching, research, knowledge and action that contains the potential to trigger an understanding and transformation of the pressing issues of urban life through equitable human-centered (practice-centered in addition to policy-centered), process-based (as opposed to formalistic) and middle-out approaches (as opposed to traditional top-down and bottom-up). Design addresses the creative, integrative and mediating capacity of creative human action that can enable both the education and practice of urbanisms of inclusion —broadly conceived— to unearth new urban knowledge, new methods of urban research, and engaging broader audiences and participants to establish new ways of learning. This international partnership proposes an inclusive urbanism driven by a desire to make a measurable and critical transformation in the world, an open-ended urbanism centered on action, yet equally committed to critical reflection. This approach to urbanism is currently “off the map” of contemporary educational practices, but not outside of the realm of possible. By aligning and synergizing the specificities and strengths of all of the six partners involved, this partnership attempts to satisfy the pressing need for establishing modes of teaching, research, education and practice that create democratic, equitable and inclusive approaches to urbanization.
The consortium brings together graduate urban design, urbanism, strategic design and planning, landscape architecture and visual arts curricula in Europe and North America into a unified framework of Urbanisms of Inclusion. A transatlantic approach to Urbanisms of Inclusion is organized around learning outcomes derived from two parallel sources: from context-specific conditions rooted in the particular urban histories, cultures and policies of the six different geographical locations across two continents in order to develop a curriculum which addresses contemporary urban development challenges, processes and conditions equitably; and, from the territorial and socio-ecological issues related to the effects of globalization --dualization, gentrification, mobility and migrations, territorial fragmentation, and uneven development-- and the recognition that these issues most deeply affect the urban poor and the traditionally marginalized social groups.