conclusion/further directions

December 15, 2007

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Today marks the end of my Valle studies, and I’m actually off for two weeks to do some holiday traveling. However, thanks to the Scan|Design Foundation, I’ll be back in Copenhagen in January to continue my studies until June.

My Valle research ended up leading me in unexpected directions. Although I started by focusing on the SAVE program, I was also able to see several great examples of contemporary contextual design as well as some really impressive urban design projects. My plan is to tie the research that I did on SAVE directly into my urban planning thesis, which I will be working on here next semester at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture. I would also like to make a summary of the contextual projects in the form of an article or a photoessay. When I return to Copenhagen in January, I plan to conduct some interviews with the firms that designed these projects to add to my own personal observations.

I was also fortunate enough to be able to take part in Professor Bo Grönlund‘s ‘New Urban Theory‘ course last week at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture.  I think it’s great that there are some English-language lecture course offerings for those of us international students who are interested in specific topics beyond what is covered in the studios.  The theory course was great – a mix of some of the standards (William H. Whyte, Henri Lefébvre and Richard Sennett) with some new (more Scandinavian-specific) material from space analyst B. Hillier and social psychologist J. Asplund.  I thought it was a great series of lectures, and it was particularly nice to see some more contemporary material in addition to hearing about the ‘classic’ urbanists.

Just a reminder: I have four months’ worth of photos of Copenhagen’s built environment on my flickr page! Check it out if you’re interested.

Lastly, I’d like to say thank you to the Valle Scholarship and Exchange Program at the University of Washington. My overall experience in Denmark has been fantastic, and I have been truly impressed by the quality of the professors, the academic offerings, and the strength of the design community in Copenhagen. I wish that every urban planning student could visit Scandinavia to see some of these really well-designed, functional, beautiful, and walkable/bikeable cities. I feel lucky to have had the experience myself, and I know that my experiences in Copenhagen will affect my approach to design in the future.

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