Chapter 4 Pedagogy built on working with communities: a first semester core course
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Preparing students for practice is a key challenge in planning education. Most graduate planning programmes in the US have a studio requirement, but questions remain on how to define, incorporate, and assess learning outcomes. Since most studio projects involve working with a client, there is also the issue of how community engagement takes place and impacts partner communities. Within the current political context, it is critical for planning programmes to work collaboratively with community groups to build capacity, prepare for impacts of climate change, and link to social and environmental justice movements. This paper explores the challenges and benefits of a first-semester studio that works with a community partner as client using the case study of Pratt Institute’s graduate planning programme. Following a brief review of literature and description of Pratt’s community-oriented pedagogy, the effectiveness of the course is considered from both the students’ and community clients’ perspectives.

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