COLEMAN FELLOWSHIP ACTIVITIES – CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO

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COLEMAN FELLOWSHIP ACTIVITIES – CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO

Post  utoker on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:00 pm

Post by Umut Toker, PhD., Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

1. Concept:
I have been teaching “Community Design Methods”, a class on participatory design for the past seven years. The class focuses on participatory design decision-making with the public, from site-specific architectural scale to urban design and community planning scales. With its emphasis on innovative solutions on integrating public to the decision-making process, this class constituted a great starting medium to integrate activities fueled by the Coleman Fellowship.

As a first step, a speaker series titled “Entrepreneurship in Community Design” was started. The objective of this series is to bring self-employed designers (urban designers, planners, architects) from San Luis Obispo area into the campus for a talk for the students. The focus of talks will be on aspects of control, risk and reward in owning a design practice in the Central Coast of California.

In the following steps, (i) companies / designers that develop participatory decision-making technologies, and (ii) companies / designers that develop visualization technologies for participation will be contacted. They will be invited to the campus to speak to students about these new technologies, as well as the implications of self employment in these areas.

2. Execution:
For the first step described above, the speaker series has been started. So far two self-employed designers from the Central Coast area have presented to the campus community. The talks are open to all students on campus. In the past two events, students from multiple majors of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design attended, yielding a very informative and engaging post-talk discussion as well.

For the following steps, I am collaborating with Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) to identify and invite speakers to campus. One of the actions along this line is the organization of a public forum on “Design Thinking”. Targeting mid-April as a potential time, I am working with the CIE to organize and invite designers / design companies that focus on innovative participation and visualization technologies.

3. E Competencies
Engaging in a conversation with self-employed designers, learning about key implications of self-employment in design
Learning about how campus-based knowledge and skills translate into assets for managing a self-employed design business
Interacting with creators / implementers of new technologies in community design, identifying opportunities beyond conventional design practices
Being exposed to innovative design service and process development in multiple scales and facets of design[/list]

4. Challenges
To provide internship / practice opportunities for students to get first-hand experience with designers running their own businesses
To provide practice opportunities for students to experiment with new participation / visualization technologies
To continue monitoring the design fields in an effort to identify service and process innovators
To encourage self-employment in design, despite potential risks

utoker

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Constance Bodurow Reply to Umut

Post  Admin on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:24 pm

Dear Umut:
A very clear description of a worthy project! A few observations/suggestions for your consideration:

-consider offering class or studio credit for the internships that you are attempting to arrange for students. Likely, paid internships are few and far between! We have used this approach in our m.U.D. program (although with local municipalities vs. small firms/entrepreneurs).
-might you include the NGO sector in your initiative? Increasingly, I find that not-for-profit organizations and foundations are clients for design practice at an urban scale, particularly alternative or entrepreneurial practice!
-how will students "experiment with new participation / visualization technologies"? This seems like a really interesting and important direction, but will likely necessitate adding an activity beyond the speaker series that you describe. Perhaps a focused workshop or charrette engaging students with local designers/organizations?

I hope these comments are of help to you. Continued best wishes on your Coleman work!
Regards,
Constance C. Bodurow
Lawrence Tech CoAD
cbodurow@ltu.edu

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