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Section 3

Unit Title Design for Urban Communities

Unit Code ACT204
Programme BA (Hons) Design for Interaction
Credits 20 Level 2 Unit Status Mandatory

Contact Time 55 Access to Resources 45 Independent Study 100

Wireless access to the internet increasingly renders the whole city -

not just its buildings, equipment and furniture - an interface to the
world. (Jan Vervinjen. Spark 2003).

This unit looks at the impact which technological developments such

as mobile technology and the internet might have on the ways we
think about and inhabit our localities and the urban environment.
Technological developments have influenced the evolution of cities
over time. Communication and interaction technologies will also
impact on the social and physical fabric of the city. The traditional
marketplace, the sites of political debate and communal interaction
are no longer bounded by the physical environment. While the
interaction of the community and the individual with the physical
urban environment can be mediated by the use of interaction and
communication technology.
This unit explores the use to which interaction and communication
technology could be put in an urban environment and the ways in
which it can be used to improve the quality of communal and urban
life. It revolves around an examination of a designated urban
location and the needs of its communities.

The unit project will involve students in working with students from
other courses in cross course teams. For instance, they may join
students from the BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment
Architectures (IDEA) course in groups where each team member
adopts a role related to their course specialism. While IDEA students
will identify an architectural intervention in the locality designed to
enhance it for its community, Design for Interaction students will
identify ways in which information and communication technology
can be used to enhance the urban environment and/or communal

Faculty of Design Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Topics covered in this unit may include:

Indicative • Socio-economic development of urban environments;

Curriculum • Communities – physical and virtual;
Outline • Technology and socio-economic change;
• Collaborative communication technologies;
• Display and presentation technologies.

In order to pass this Level 2 unit, students must show that the
following learning outcomes have been achieved:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Knowledge and understanding of the use of interaction and

communication technology to support communities and their
environments; (LO1)
2. Understanding of the inter-relationship between design
proposals and their broader socio economic, geographic and
Unit Learning cultural contexts. (LO2)

3. Define, research and critically analyse the needs and

requirements of an urban community or locality; (LO3)
4. Conceptualise an interaction design proposal to address a
perceived communal or local need; (LO4)
5. Work collaboratively in the production of a design proposal for
a specific site in an urban context; (LO5)
6. Communicate a comprehensive project proposal to non
specialists. (LO6)

This unit will make use of the following:

• Briefing(s);
• Lectures;
Teaching and
• Software workshops;
• Self directed and group research;
• Seminars/discussion groups concepts;
• Site visits;
• Critique;
• Feedback.

Faculty of Design Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Formative Assessment
Students will be assessed initially on a course based group
presentation of the project proposal and supporting research

Summative Assessment
Assessable Each assessed element will contribute to the final grade, in the
Elements proportions shown in the following table:

Assessable Elements Percentage of Final Grade

Initial group based presentation 30%
Final group presentation 30%
Individual report, sketchbook and 40%

Students are assessed on:

Initial group based presentation

• Appropriateness of presentation and use of media for
proposal and audience; (LO6)
• Grasp of the arguments germane to the proposal and
attendant research; (LO3)
• Feasibility of proposal for the implementation. (LO4)

Final group presentation

• Effective response to site specific contexts; (LO4)
• Level of understanding of the socio-economic imperatives
Assessment attached to the development; (LO2)
Criteria • Arguments fully and logically developed and supported by
evidence; (LO6)
• An understanding of design and technological opportunities,
factors and issues associated with the proposal; (LO1)
• Coherence of presentation for a public audience of non
specialists. (LO5, LO6)

Individual report, sketchbook and journal

• Evidence of appropriate research underpinning the
development of design proposals; (LO3)
• Their understanding of the researched community and the
level of articulation of historical, contextual and theoretical
dimensions of the problems; (LO2)

Faculty of Design Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

• The extent to which appropriate technologies have been

creatively employed in the meeting of community needs as
evidenced in the project outcomes; (LO1)
• The level of professionalism evidenced at the presentation of
the final outcomes; (LO6)
• Evidence of an understanding of and commitment to the
group dynamic as evidenced through the individual project
journal. (LO5)

Unit Relevant Books

Verwijnen, Jan. (2004) Spark! Design and locality, University of Art

and Design Helsinki.

Norman, Donald. (1990) The Design of Everyday Things, New York:


Dowmunt, Tony. (1993) Channels of Resistance: Global Television

and Local Empowerment, BFI Publishing in association with
Channel Four Television.

Bell, David. (2004) Cyberculture: The Key Concepts, Routledge.

Burry, M. (2001) Cyberspace.

Indicative Zellner, P. (1999) Hybrid space, New York: Rizzoli.

Reading List
Migayrou, F. and Brayer, M. (2003) Radical experiments in Global
architecture, Thames and Hudson.

Historical documents etc. for the chosen site.

Unit Relevant Magazines and Periodicals

The architectural Review




Journal of space syntax UCL

Faculty of Design Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Unit Relevant Websites

UCL.ac uk bartlett school of architecture space syntax

Harvard school of design and architecture lagos project


URLs relating to the chosen site.

Faculty of Design Definitive Document: 21 July 2006