Action Research in Planning Education: - lessons from Roskilde University

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Transformative research and education can contribute to guide policies and practices to respond to the crises of the 21st century, such as climate change, refugee catastrophe, growing inequality, intolerance, racism, militarism, global violence and insecurity, and erosion of democracy.
Our chapter presents experiences from courses and student projects working with action research in facilitating citizen-driven urban planning. First, we outline the key foundation of the Planning Studies (PS) program: planning as social learning and processes of empowerment/social mobilization. Second, we describe the RUC institutional and pedagogical context, where problem-based work in project groups (PPL) is the key learning principle rooted in the Freire learning tradition. Third, we present examples of work in courses and two cases of problem-oriented projects working with action research in bottom-up urban planning and sustainable transition in Copenhagen. The article concludes that action research is promising way of involving students in community empowerment processes. Seen from the perspective of the students, doing action research strengthens their understanding of “the logic of practice” and their ability to master practical and ethical judgments in complex real-world empowerment and learning processes.

Keywords: urban planning, action research, sustainable transition, problem-oriented project learning (PPL), social learning, empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformative Research and Higher Education
EditorsAzril Bacal
Number of pages20
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication dateMar 2022
ISBN (Print)9781801176958
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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