Two academics, Westminster Planning and Transport Principal Lecturer Dr Suzy Nelson, in collaboration with Kerry Bobbins, have researched the benefits and the importance of an interdisciplinary collaborative architectural and planning practice to inform the development of this new course.
The research, supported by the Quintin Hogg Trust Foundation, was based on a review of relevant literature about the professions, interdisciplinary working, and the nature of current practice. It also included findings from interviews with industry partners in private practice and in the public sector in the London area.
The programme for the Designing Cities: Planning and Architecture BA Honours course has been designed to educate professional planners with a broad understanding of urban planning and architectural design, to allow them to contribute effectively to interdisciplinary teams. It focuses on how to address challenges such as climate change and social polarisation. The course also allows students to explore the nature of collaborative interdisciplinary practice between architects, planners and other built environment professionals, and to develop links with practice, which will enable them to progress their careers.
The research showed the extent of the interest in interdisciplinary working among built environment professionals in the UK, and demonstrated that many professionals in the field are in favour of practising interdisciplinary working.
The research project deepen the engagement of industry partners with the course. Professionals, interviewed for the research, offered to be involved with the course through the giving lectures hosting visits to their projects, and giving feedback to students on their project work as well as providing opportunities of work placements for students.