Students attend workshop on ‘Creative Towns’ in South Italy with help of Westminster Distant Horizons Award
Planning, Housing and Urban Design 24 August 2017
Between 20 and 26 July, the Westminster students attended the workshop alongside undergraduates and postgraduates from the London School of Economics, Newcastle University, University of Calabria and Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria.
The Westminster students’ trip was supported by the University of Westminster programme ‘Distant Horizons’ which aims to help undergraduates to get experience abroad and to take part in international academic or career-related events.
The workshop included a one-week participatory urban design charrette, fieldtrips and a series of themed seminars on culture, creativity and sustainable local development. The event was partly sponsored by a local NGO, the Academy of Gagliato, and the EU COST Action ‘INTREPID’ on inter and trans-disciplinarity in Urban Studies.
The workshop aimed at co-producing solutions for the sustainable urban development of the town of Gagliato with local people, throughout a series of engagement workshops. It also allowed to test a fruitful interaction among different disciplines including architecture, urban planning and local economic development.
The results were presented to the local community and then discussed with the Regional Authority of Calabria. Solutions and ideas to revive local economy through niche quality agriculture, art and creative events were debated. Simulations on how to regenerate the historic town centre, improving the overall environmental quality and public health were made.
Martin Miranda Antelo, a Westminster BA Designing Cities student who took part in the workshop, said: “The opportunity to be able to gain real life work experience for your chosen field abroad is life changing! It allows you to see your career in the context of another country and you are able to compare it with the UK. It also allows you to think internationally about future opportunities. Professor Giulio Verdini did an amazing job, bringing together people of many different disciplines and Universities both from the UK and Italy. He led a committee of professors and delegated the five most important issues in creating sustainable development in Gagliato.”
Giulio Verdini, Course Leader of the Designing Cities BA Honours course and organiser of the international workshop, said: “This workshop is part of the internationalisation strategy of the BA Designing Cities. In just one year, we have established fruitful cooperations with Chinese, European and Australian Institutes. This kind of activities enriches the curriculum of the course providing concrete ways to practice urban design with the engagement of real Stakeholders.”
Students have unanimously expressed their satisfaction for having the opportunity to test their knowledge in a real case study, receiving such a positive feedback from local people.
Local authorities and both local partner universities are committed to further support the summer school in the years to come.
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