Cities, Like Dreams

Last week was Innovative Learning week at the University of Edinburgh, which is a week of interactive events to give students a breather mid-term. I coorganised the Creative Material Play event which I have written about in another blog post. I also helped out on a full day workshop called Play + Design = Learn with Niky, Hanis, Reyhaneh, Matluba, Sharifah and myself. This workshop was designed to allow young people the creative freedom of designing an outdoor space. The location was Edinburgh College of Art’s outdoor quadrangle. Here is a photo:

IMG_0946 (1)
This is the quadrangle outside the art college. The children did well to be inspired on such a dreary Edinburgh day! Photo courtesy of Nik Farhanah.

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The children were asked to take an inventory of the quadrangle at ECA before making their own design suggesting how the space may be better used and enjoyed by the art students. We had some great designs! Some ideas were: underground houses, a dragon fountain, planes, flower, trees, benches and the all important sunshine!

Play + Design = Learn Inventory
The inventory for the workshop participants to find and tick off.

In the morning we watched this video of a boy who used to live in Aleppo. It is about how he would like to become an architect and rebuild the city, and to show people how he would do that, he builds detailed and thoughtful models:

Models are a great way for not only visualising the space in three dimensions but also were a way for the young landscape architects in the workshop to share ideas and to become enthusiastic about their collaborative designs. Imaginings of what could be in the space got steadily more wild as the activity progressed. By the end, the children were very confident to pitch their ideas and nothing seemed outside the realms of possibility!

Presentation of models at the end of the workshop. Photo courtesy of Matluba Kahn. A link to Matluba’s blog pose can be found in the references at the bottom of this post.



Kahn, Matluba (2016) Play+Design=Learning: guest blog post by PhD student, Matluba Khan

Play+Design=Learning: guest blog post by PhD student, Matluba Khan

Accessed: 24/02/2016




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s