Connecting through the lens: Cross-cultural perspectives on urban design and water infrastructure using participatory photography as an observational learning tool

Molly Gail Mehling, Gregory Galford, William Biss, Darlene Motley, Yandi Andri Yatmo, Paramita Atmodiwirjo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This case study shares a unique educational experience that combined sustainability and design education with international partnerships that sought to investigate and visually analyze relationships between housing design and water infrastructure in both Pittsburgh, PA (USA) and urban centers of Indonesia. This project built upon an existing foundation of international relationships between faculty and institutions within a consortium framework. The project used a pre-course and a faculty-led student trip to establish relationships among faculty and students based in the United States (US) and Indonesia and to determine preliminary shared research goals to be built upon for future research collaborations that can attain a deeper and longer-term relationship. Students who participated in these courses refined their visual communication skills, gained a valuable global perspective on urban water management, were exposed to participatory photography as a research tool, and were strongly affected by their cultural experiences in Indonesia. Peer work between US and Indonesian students provided opportunities for students to exchange ideas and perceptions about the observed environment, which are influenced by their familiarity and unfamiliarity with the setting. The experience of this project can serve as a primer for the sustainability educator who is interested in interdisciplinary and international educational endeavors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sustainabiity Education
Volume12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • experiential learning
  • urban water
  • housing design
  • international education
  • study abroad
  • Indonesia
  • visual learning
  • peer-to-peer

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