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Open Access Learning amidst urban practices: reflections on Architecture Sans Frontières

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This paper reflects on the teaching and learning activities of Architecture Sans Frontières –UK, and particularly the independent learning programme titled 'Challenging Practice: Essentials for the Social Production of Habitat'. Challenging Practice is a course that seeks to enable built environment professionals to engage reflexively with the challenges of international development in cities globally. The paper aims to explore the action-based component of the course in its interrelations with two overlapping contexts. On the one hand, it addresses the pedagogic principles underpinning the course and the links between site-specific live projects and learner-centred, off-site reflection. The focus is placed on the iterations and mediations between learning and action entailed by this methodology. On the other hand, the paper seeks to critically contextualise field-based experiences as part of the strategic framework of the organisation – highlighting the challenges and opportunities of initiating learning projects that are aligned with a series of social development outcomes based on the partners' requirements and needs. Through these explorations, the paper reflects on the ways in which action-learning has induced for ASF-UK a shift in focus from built environment professions to urban practices, and an expanded definition of 'learning' within this context.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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