My teaching is inspired by the fact that landscape architects have the opportunity to apply knowledge of natural systems, human behavior, and artistic expression through design to the places we inhabit. I incorporate this into my academic work through three approaches into my courses; community based practice, community engagement and scholarship, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Below is a list of my research interests and goals to facilitate meetings with students and faculty while in Chile.
Community Based Practice
My design studios often focus on the model of community based practice and address cultural identity, social infrastructure, and open space issues in complex urban neighborhoods. These projects challenge students to analyze historic and existing conditions through both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Through the collection of stories, oral histories, and artifacts from the social, cultural, and physical archive of a place, I challenge students to develop new strategies to help a community envision its future. I find that students respond well to projects that are based in the real world and have the potential to directly assist a community.
Community Engagement & Scholarship
It has been my experience that for students, empowerment and transformation along with the development of lifelong learning skills are developed by working with community residents and partners. Community engagement provides a venue for cross-cultural interaction and builds meaningful relationships between universities and the communities they serve. I like to utilize community engagement as pedagogy in my courses and have students provide service to help a community resolve self-identified issues. I also challenge students to become reflective practitioners and employ them to document their experiences of putting theory into action.
As with any design or planning project it takes a team to advance an idea from a concept to a tangible form in the built environment. I like to share this type of collaborative praxis with my students in both my design studios and lecture courses. I have taught numerous studios involving students from architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and civil engineering and in each case student were able to work collaboratively to help solve complex issues. This collaborative model of teaching and problem solving challenges students to blur the boundaries between professions to address complexities and meet user needs.
Based on my research interest I have three main goals while I am in Chile. First, I would like to see how universities disseminate information to the larger community. Second, I would like to see how Architecture and other design programs engage with communities to solve societal issues. Finally, I would like to see how academic units within the university collaborate with each other in terms of creating transformative educational opportunities for students and faculty.