I have enjoyed the range of relevant topics covered by the lecture and blog series this semester and I think the regularity of the blog posts helped to keep us constantly engaged with the subject matter. In addition to that, writing a blog roughly every two weeks has taken the pressure off the deadline in January and I think allows people more time to do extra reading around their subjects.
I think blogs were a suitable style of writing to conglomerate our ideas and research into easily-readable articles for anyone to enjoy. Its good practice for my future career as an architect when I might want to convey my ideas simply in an eye-catching and accessible form.
At the beginning of the semester, we were split into small groups to each design a part of the blog page. Although it sounds like a productive way for the students to self-lead their module, I think having the input of around forty students became quite confusing. I was in a group assigned to designing the look of the blogger profiles. Although working in my small group allowed me to get to know other people on my cohort, I don’t think it required the input of five people over the space of an hour to come up with set of guidelines for the blogger profiles. I was keen to keep our set of guidelines simple so that everyone could follow them. I presented them back to the year group at the end of the session and then posted them online, on behalf of my group, for everyone to access afterwards. In future to save time and confusion, I think it would be best for the module leader to set up the blog page.
Overall, I have enjoyed reading around and writing about topics that I hadn’t considered before, such as mental health in urban design and healthy neighbourhoods. The module has improved my ability to conduct academic research, write concisely and in a more structured way, and work collaboratively in order to maintain a live blog page that is cohesive and appealing.
Going forward, I would like to do more reading around the subjects I have found particular interests in. I would be keen to find out what other potentials the UK’s canal network has to offer besides providing a green transport network, the opportunity for passive heating and cooling for buildings and providing good quality and freely accessible outdoor space, especially for those in densely packed ex-industrial urban areas. My interest in people friendly urban design can feed into this, with continued reading of, and around, books such as Cities for People and Soft City by Jan Gehl. I think this module has been a useful tool in unlocking the urban designers and readings that I have found most interest in and which can be incredibly useful in supporting my architectural studies in my final year on the MArch course.