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Community design studio: a collaboration of architects and psychologists

Romice, Ombretta and Uzzell, David (2005) Community design studio: a collaboration of architects and psychologists. Centre for Education in the Built Environment Transactions, 2 (1). pp. 73-88. ISSN 1745-0322

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The 'Community Design Studio' was a programme of collaboration between two courses, one in architecture and the other in environmental psychology. It aimed to generate a creative dialogue identifying responsible and professionally informed plans for the renewal of an inner city area in Glasgow (Govanhill) in which community participation was an essentialingredient. The collaboration took the form of architecture students, as designers and environmental psychology students as consultants, communicating electronically between Guildford (University of Surrey) and Glasgow (University of Strathclyde) and then meeting for on-site project work in London and Glasgow. The local community in Glasgow was the client for the architecture students, as the commissioner of ideas for neighbourhood regeneration. This interdisciplinary collaboration took place over nine months and generated educational, social and professional capital and challenges for both groups of young professionals. It involved long-distance collaboration through a virtual-studio with limited direct contacts; the responsibility of dealing with a 'real' client; and the cultural diversity of the two disciplines with different curricula, philosophy, teaching styles and learning outcomes. This experience also suggests potential ways to overcome the obstacles encountered in professional/community as well as inter-disciplinary collaboration and cooperation, and advocates the educational and social utility of such collaboration.