Town Planning Review

Holistic, inclusive and practical: teaching plan-making at the core

Town Planning Review (2012), 83, (6), 625–646.

Abstract

How can planning schools integrate practice into the discipline? This article describes how a faculty beholden to social science disciplines used plan-making practice to restructure the core curriculum for the professional planning degree. The learning that emerged from combining studio and lecture was distinctly planning, neither applied social science nor design arts. Grounding the curriculum's restructuring in the larger narrative about the development of planning education, and explaining how diverse factors catalysed the change at one US university, the article shows how the shift toward practice abides by the following principles for planning education: ‘holistic’ integration of disciplinary knowledge, ‘inclusive’ combination of political savvy, public relevance, and technical competence; and ‘practical’ collaborative learning for composing useful, adaptive and feasible plans. The article concludes by exploring some of the limitations associated with this type of curriculum shift and the lessons learnt.

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Author details

Vidyarthi, Sanjeev

Winkle, Curtis

Smith, Janet

Zhang, Tingwei

Kawamura, Kazuya

Hoch, Charles