From childhood on children are told that it is possible to “learn from one’s mistakes,” yet this is misleading. In reality one learns what doesn’t work from mistakes, not what does work. Within disciplines dealing with spatial questions, the “trial & error” method can be connected to high environmental costs and social problems. Due to this, learning from good examples, the “best practice cases”, is significant. Examples of cities and landscape planning that will be viable into the future are abundant, however sometimes it isn’t easy to separate “the sheep from the goats” or to not become prematurely blinded. In the context of this project course the course leader and students launch a search for tried and true street zoning and housing examples, discuss and reflect on the results and create project reports to make their results available for other students.
In this building block the street is understood as an essential living and social space. Its traffic function is only one of many important street functions, such as recreation, communication or business. Construction, design and organizational factors have influence. Encouraging multi-functional street-use is a central theme of the building block.
In preparation for the first unit, students should bring a photographic example of an existing street design or of a successful street-building area. After a short informational input on the course, the photos should be presented one by one and filtered out based on various street functions and quality characteristics. Supplemental and structural quality criteria for the open street space are presented with a PowerPoint presentation based on photos and sections of maps.
The second unit allows the completion of an individual street survey sketch after a group “test” survey to learn the method. The students should sketch this example before the next unit.
The third unit serves as a time to discuss the survey and sort (“rank”) the street examples according to their functionality aspects.
In the fourth unit, students work in small groups to develop their own multiple-choice questions. The course building block ends with a short reflection round.
The course material includes:
- Informative component for the course leader,
- Suggested structure/agenda of the course unit,
- Course material (PowerPoint presentation on street qualities, information on the usability indicators, survey sheet for open street spaces),
- Suggested interaction possibilities for the students (presentation of individual research, completion of surveys/mapping, participation in the creation of multiple choice test questions)
- Instructions for creating the multiple choice questions as knowledge check,
- Literature tips
In this building block students learn to see streets as public open spaces, to recognize useable streets and to name the construction-spatial and organizational requirements.