LED2LEAP Learning Objectives

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Overall Learning Outcomes and Competences

  • The objective of this strategic partnership is to further develop, implement, evaluate and improve the initial blended learning course titled Landscape Education for Democracy, LED, while extending efforts to empower local communities and promote sustainable design through the establishment of living labs practicing Participatory Action Research, PAR.
  • As an extension of the initial LED project, LED2LEAP, also endeavors to foster Learning Empowerment Agency and Change, by deepening the level of engagement between citizens and design & planning practitioners.
  • This learning opportunity is open to all disciplines engaged in city design, planning and redevelopment and encourages trans-disciplinary approaches to local landscape democracy challenges. According to relevant literature and the discussions held at the start-up meeting, learning objectives can be classified as subject-specific, personal and methodical.

In this competence-oriented educational model, we aim to achieve the following learning outcomes:

Subject-Specific Competences

Participants should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of democracy based on a dialectical approach to this meta-topic. They know how public participation and democracy are related. They are aware of contemporary challenges to democracy in the context of landscape planning and urban design change in relation to a ‘right to landscape’ approach.
  • Develop an understanding of the multiple concepts of landscape and can relate this to the contemporary context of a pluralistic society. Be sensitive to the different attitudes towards open space and also the disparities in access to landscape that exist among different ethnic or socioeconomic groups in a community.
  • Conduct an informed and dialectical discourse on the relationship between landscape and democracy and are able to cite and analyze examples of this in a global context. This includes identifying and evaluating concrete situations in which decision making processes around landscape are lack democratic elements, and propose possible solutions for overcoming this.
  • Understand, reflect and practice participatory processes of landscape transformation, the terms related to this approach, and how these terms are perceived by stakeholders. Become knowledgeable about the relationship of goal-setting, visioning and strategy building.
  • Be knowledgeable about the relationships between goal-setting, visioning and strategy building, in the context of the evolution of public participation and its common perceptions, and relate this concept to contemporary planning theory. This includes critical perspective and awareness of the potentials and limits of various models of participation, e.g. the ladder (Arnstein) and wheel of participation (Davidson).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the evolution and contemporary understanding of concepts of community and identity. Students should be able to relate these concepts to planning practice. This includes a critical reflection on the role of the planner (as ‘expert’). Through understanding these principles they can reflect on their own values as a planner ('expert').
  • Relate context to personal community and space. Become able to select the most adequate methods and tools to be applied in specific challenges requiring participatory processes, understand a range of participatory planning activities, and the importance of matching techniques to community.
  • Know common communication tools supporting participatory processes as well as different examples of participatory processes and how methods and tools are applied in practice. Have a gestalt of this and can practice participatory transformation.
  • Know the relevance of goal setting and visioning in transformative practice. Have the ability to move from individual to collective goals, while identifying common goals. Understand, practice and reflect on participatory goal setting, along with collaborative evaluation and setting future agendas.

Social and Personal Competences

Participants should demonstrate a high level of understanding of the following:

  • Critical reflection of structures, conditions and dependencies in respect to societal contexts and individual environments, motivation for active citizenship and identification of landscape democracy challenges and their potential for change.
  • Critical reflection of the role of the planner in a diverse society (expert vs facilitator), and what leadership means in a participatory context.
  • Identification of stakeholders and power structures in a new and unknown context, along with development of (reflected) leadership competences: empowering people to build common visions and mutual trust.
  • Active listening and a high level of empathy for various perspectives and viewpoints in an intercultural context.
  • Bold, adaptable and innovative approaches, with an understanding of the role failure plays in democratic processes.
  • Self-organized, process-oriented and interdisciplinary team work, including the virtual realm.
  • High skill level of communication and presentation, including in a lingua francas such as English.
  • Self-reflection through confronting of 'the other" (disciplines, lay people, culture, local contexts) and increased self-awareness of value schemes and patterns of interpretation.

Methodical Competences

Participants should demonstrate a solid mastery of the ability to:

  • Acquire relevant knowledge and information collaboratively.
  • Evaluate, analyze, synthesize and process this information, with an awarenesses of diversity.
  • Independently design a creative working process in a target-oriented manner.
  • Transfer knowledge and methods in the field of public participation to new and unfamiliar contexts.
  • Apply project management and team building methods.
  • Communicate results to different types of audiences (subject-specific and general public) using both analog and ICT-based means of communication.
  • Reflect on and assess the impact of their work in creative and unconventional ways.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding
    • of the role of evaluating results and impact measurements.
    • of the methods applied to evaluation of democratic landscape processes.
    • of the difference between short-term results and long-term impacts.
  • Design a peer-evaluation process at the start of an activity both from his/her personal perspective and the goals of the process/project/intervention.
  • Select and justify a method for quantitative or qualitative evaluation, with a set of criteria that is tailored to the main goals of the activity.
  • Draw up an action plan for the evaluation.
  • Monitor a democratic process, reflect on it and adapt it when necessary.
  • Organise feedback from observers (outsiders, peers) and activity participants (users, stakeholders, target groups) in a way that is suited to them and include this in the collaborative evaluation.

Subject-specific competences will be enhanced by online lectures, literature study, case study work and self-study of learning materials.

Social/personal and methodical competences will primarily be enhanced by group work, collaborative research, design thinking, workshops, presentations and other inquiry-based / interactive learning methods.

Process Steps for the Learning Model:

A – Democratic Landscape Transformation

The concepts of landscape and democracy are approached in a dialectical way by means of literature readings, lectures, community mapping, discussions, team work, and polls. Focus is given to the power of story telling as a tool for communicating abstract concepts.

B – Democratic Landscape Analysis

Students learn how to approach community engagement through participatory action research, exploring the techniques and tools available and how to match them to the community. Importance is given to insight and reflection on why and how to engage with community, as well as, the intended and unintended impact of engagement. The LED2LEAP community living labs provide an opportunity to both practice and evaluate democratic landscape analysis.

C – Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

This phase focuses on understanding, practicing and reflecting on participatory goal-setting through the presentation of case studies that utilize collective visioning and transformative processes. Hands on exploration of the Nominal Group Technique method is followed up with critical reflection on the process.

D – Collaborative Design, Transformation and Testing

Students are taken through the prototyping process, from strategy to design idea, as they develop a plan of action for carrying out the goals established in collaborative visioning. The practical is balanced with the conceptual, as the phase uncovers the ethics of collaborative processes and incorporates games into the approach.

E – Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agenda

Here the last turn of the iterative process is introduced, as theory and methodical frameworks for impact evaluation in a community context are presented. Tools are introduced for supporting the process of facilitating a collaborative evaluation.