Posted January 29th 2010 at 3:06 pm by
in Uncategorized

Ideas in Action

On February 3, 2010, CoLab will host a roundtable discussion for the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) Speaker Series that explores the history of action research in the department.

DUSP has a long history of approaching communities with respect for the knowledge they have accumulated through their experience of making change. There has been a strong emphasis on merging practice and research, and clear recognition of communities as the source of knowledge and resources key to their own development. We’d like to ask some of the longtime faculty to reflect on the origins of this ethos in the department, and particularly to tell us what it was like to be at DUSP in the early days of the Community Fellows program.

Over the years, action research has permeated the department’s approach to planning, with faculty across the Department developing long-term relationships with local partners and engaging in practice-based research. We’d like to talk about the opportunities and challenges of this work and why it is important.

Finally, though faculty establish and coordinate such partnerships, students spend time on the ground learning about planning practice by doing. Through the establishment of the practicum as a degree requirement for the MCP students, DUSP has created a curricular foundation for practice-based research. Currently, this requirement only applies only to masters students—not doctoral students or undergraduates. We’d like to invite students from all research areas within DUSP to share their experiences with practice-based research, along with their thoughts on where we should be headed.

Image by Carlos Espinoza Toro

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