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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Urban Space and Environmental Design Class:
Creating an Image of Cities in the Future in a Class in the Department of Architecture

Akira Kikuchi
2nd year student in the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering (Department of Architecture)

A workshop in Shirakawa City. The author is the one bending over toward the right.

In the Urban Space and Environmental Design Class, we practice design of urban spaces in a cross-scale under the guidance of Professor Takashi Ariga. This class covers everything from broad-based design with a focus on the ecosystems and terrain of the land as well as culture, to designs closely related to living such as improvements to the residential environment in city blocks as well as the conservation and utilization of historic buildings. This class is divided into two major parts: practical research activities according to project-based learning and international workshops.

Firstly, in project-based learning, we solve specific problems in actual cities. As an example, in Shirakawa City, Fukushima Prefecture, which is a castle town, we made proposals about the regeneration and improvement of warehouse and earthwork ruins that are historical environmental resources unique to this area for problems relating to the residential environment seen from the point of view of disaster prevention, such as with the narrow roads and vacant houses in the old city area. Moreover, in a broad-based design, we formulated landscape guidelines in cooperation with the local government and NPOs for the maintenance of the historic streets in the castle town. This class tackles urban development in cooperation with various organizations, including the government, residents and NPOs. This means it is an extremely practical activity.

The other feature of this class is the international workshops. In the international workshops, we discuss and make proposals with graduate students from overseas about a wide range of challenges both in Japan and overseas; from broad problems involving urban planning to residential environment design on a human scale.

As described above, the Urban Space and Environmental Design Class is one in which students consider the traverse image of cities in the future and the nature of the planning of this in cooperation with many people; from the scale of urban architecture involved in our lives to a broad regional scale.

An international workshop in Germany held this year.
ⓒJonas Ratermann