Delta Futures Lab webinar
Lessons learned from a three-year international program by Fransje Hooimeijer
Civil engineering and spatial design are fields with very different cultures and languages, yet interdisciplinary cooperation between these disciplines, as well as among sub-disciplines within each, is necessary for realizing resilient urban infrastructure. Delft University of Technology incorporated interdisciplinary design into its MSc-level education of civil engineers and spatial designers focusing on the “living labs” in Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan, which have been subject to storm surge and tsunami hazards. For three consecutive years workshops were conducted for groups of students from many disciplines, to learn from the reconstruction of Japanese cities after disasters, and apply these insights together with Dutch design principles, to hypothetical reconstruction of Japanese and Dutch cities for increased disaster resilience and livability. Via surveys of the participating students and evaluation of their final design products, we assess the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary education methods used, and discuss lessons learned for interdisciplinary projects with engineering and design students. The results show that the project provides engineering students with broad, practical experience, of the sort that has been lacking in the decades since engineering education came to be dominated by researchers rather than practitioners. Contrarily, architecture students saw this as a chance to apply the practical, interdisciplinary skills they had already learned, though struggled to form a common language with the engineering students.
More lunch webinars are announced on the Delta Futures Lab website.