Fabiola Berdiel and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo: Collaborating with Urban Communities through Design

This presentation was recorded as part of the Community Engagement 101: Peer Exchange Session in May 2020. Faculty were prompted to share about a previously-taught course and reflect on lessons learned, specifically addressing the challenges and opportunities of developing equitable and mutually beneficial collaborations and of effectively preparing students for collaboration. 

Course Description: 

In this course students will learn, and practice, the skills and concepts needed to collaborate with marginalized communities towards socially just urban development. The course will prepare students to work with marginalized populations and grassroots initiatives in urban settings by developing social impact projects through needs/asset-based capacity building, project design and development, and by establishing networks of collaboration. 

During the first half of the semester we will examine concepts and practice skills in the areas of development, social impact design, business, marketing, media communication and documentation, design of community development models, and workshop facilitation in informal settings. 

In the second half students will prototype a collaborative community development model in which they put into practice everything they have learned – testing and enacting the thoughts, assumptions, and ideas that have been generated in the first half of the semester. The course ends with students translating their proposals into collaborative workshops for implementation. 

This unique, interdisciplinary course will bring together students from the Graduate Program in International Affairs, Milano The New School for Management, and Parsons The New School for Design under the premise that there is not a single expert but different knowledges that complement each other and can be exchanged through collaborations. 

Collaborating with Urban Communities through Design Syllabus (with faculty comments)

This syllabus includes the course instructors’ comments and discussions about the sequencing of course readings and activities, in order to offer insight into how this faculty team developed this syllabus. 

Additional Resources: 

Note: Community Engagement 101 is a proposed introductory curriculum for faculty and TA/Teaching Fellow graduate students across The New School (TNS) who incorporate external engagement or partnership as a part of their syllabus. For more information, visit our Collaboratory In-Depth Profile here.

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