14 SES 04 A, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Learning in and from Urban Spaces: The City as a Learning Experience - Part 1
Education and socialization always 'take place' somewhere: in- and outside buildings, in private and public spaces, in particular communities, neighborhoods, cities or regional contexts. This symposium wishes to highlight this spatiality of education and socialization. Socio-ecological theories on education structure children and young people's life worlds into distinct ecological zones and sectors which all create particular educational challenges and experiences for the child. Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework for human development (1979) has been an important influence on this tradition of educational research. The representation of children's life worlds as a complex network of socially organized systems and subsystems turns education into an open-ended process with many influences that can only be partially managed by formal educational institutions. As a consequence, it is reasonable to state that space matters in education.
By 2050 two thirds of all people, including over a billion children, will live and grow up in cities (UNICEF, 2012). In contrast to the city as a dangerous, unhealthy and unsafe space, the rural appears as an alternative. This powerful anti-urban and romantic image of the rural is presented as an ideal, tranquil, safe and peaceful context for children to grow up in (Valentine, 1997). Part of this rural idyll dates back to Rousseau’s depiction of nature as an ideal context for the child to explore and develop its individuality (Rousseau, 1817). Instead of focusing on an educational analysis of the city, more and more cities choose to implement the rural image through green and ‘child friendly’ urban planning. Yet, the present debate still lacks a clear socio-spatial analysis of the city as an educational context.
Considering the idea that space matters in education, one can say that the city is not only a promoter, organizer and regulator of education, but also a cause of education in its own right (Bernet, 1990). The Education Cities Movement builds well on this idea (Lúcio and Neves, 2010). In a report from the international network on Educating Cities, Bernet (1990) made a threefold distinction between learning in and from the city, and learning the city. Learning in the city points at the territoriality of education: the city is seen as a spatial background that promotes (or hinders) particular types of learning, and as a gathering of educational facilities and environments. When one considers that it is also possible to learn the city and to learn from the city, it emerges as a learning experience, as a discourse that invites different kinds of reading and (re)writing, perception and appropriation; a learning experience that is contributed to, and shared by, child care professionals, educators, governmental actors and children.
The metaphor of the city as a curriculum affects the very idea of urbanism. Moving from a functional towards a communicative role, urbanism does not only design the context for education, but becomes educationally relevant in itself (Leach, 1997; Hertzberger, 2008). Structuring the everyday learning opportunities of citizens through spatial design and planning, the urban planner acquires a pedagogical role. While producing learning opportunities, urbanism exceeds the expertise and field of the urban planner and meets the field of social sciences. Hence, a socio-spatial dialogue between multiple scientific disciplines is needed. In this sense the city as a learning experience does not only address children and their fellow citizens, but academics as well.
The papers featured in this three-part symposium will promote a multidisciplinary and international discussion on what can be learned in and from urban spaces, as well as on how different stakeholders perceive the city as an educational space, taking into account pedagogical theories, existing concepts and intervention programs and the contribution of multiple scientific approaches.
- Bernet, J. T. (Ed.). (1990). The educating city. I congrés internacional de ciutats educadores. Barcelona. - Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. - Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for people. Washinton DC: Island Press. - Hertzberger, H. (2008). Space and Learning, Lessons in Architecture 3. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. - Lúcio, J., & Neves, T. (2010). Mediation in local educational governance: the educating cities movement in a Portuguese town. European Educational Research Journal, 9(4), 484-497. - Rousseau, J. J. (1817). Emile ou de l'éducation. Paris: Didot. - Tonucci, F. (2004). La Ciudad de los Niños. Un modo nuevo de pensar la ciudad. Madrid: Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez. - UNICEF (2012). The state of the world’s children 2012. Children in an urban world. New York: Unicef - UNFPA. (2007). Growing Up Urban. The State of the World Population 2007 Youth Supplement. s/l: United Nations Population Fund. - UNFPA. (2007b). State of the World Population 2007. Unleashing the potential of urban growth. s/l: United Nations Population Fund. - Valentine, G. (1997). A safe place to grow up? Parenting, perceptions of children's safety and the rural idyll. Journal of Rural Studies, 13(2), 137-148.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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