2017 The Practice of Sociospace

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Urban Design and Built Environment
Dohi Masato 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

Human being is a social creature and at the same time spatial existence. We are able to describe our history as an interaction of these two aspects. To understand the contemporary society and city, the lectures give the thinking method to grasp both society and urban space.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Understand and explain the changes that occur in the urban space in practice from socio-spatial theory.
2) Understand and explain the significance of socio-spatial theory through practical examples.
3) Understand and explain how to manage complex relationships among various stakeholders.


social space, Community design, citizen participation, urban design

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

How each class will be conducted: A lecture on a topic is provided for the first 45 minutes; and for the second half, students present their research results on the topic followed by an open discussion.
How the subject matter will be covered over the course of teaching: The course teaches principles of community design that have been found through practices, and considers the future direction of community design.
The method of teaching: This course encourages the proactive thinking of students by combining presentations and discussions with lectures.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Orientation Overview practical examples of socio-spatial theory.
Class 2 A practice of sociospace design : Los Angeles Learn the case of river and community revitalisation in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Class 3 Social design and urban design Understand and explain a basic skill of community design for problem solving; that is, how to actively design social and spatial elements at the same time so that the two sets of elements complementary influence each other.
Class 4 Scaling up Understand and explain the principles and techniques of dealing with the changes of socio-spatial scales in practice.
Class 5 A practice of sociospace: Japan Learn the outcomes and challenges of community design using practical examples in Japan.
Class 6 The working together of government bodies, corporations and non-profits Understand and explain techniques to enable different social sectors who are significant actors in community design to work together by learning through practical examples.
Class 7 From participatory design to ecological democracy Learn the theory of ecological democracy that has a possibility to overcome the challenges of socio-spatial scales in community design.
Class 8 Summary Understand and explain the changes that occur in the urban space in practice from socio-spatial theory.


Hester, R. T. and Dohi, M. (1997) “Machizukuri no hoho to gijutsu [The methods and techniques of community design]”, Gendai Kikakushitsu
Hester, R. T. (2006) “Design for ecological democracy”, The MIT Press

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Course materials are distributed as necessary.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students are required to do a research presentation and submit a report. Both presentations and reports are marked out of 100 with 25 for the degree of understanding, 25 for the knowledge, 25 for the ability of structuring the report, and the final 25 for the ability of expressing the idea.

Related courses

  • ARC.P302 : Landscape Architecture
  • UDE.D412 : The Practice of Community Design
  • UDE.D443 : Practices of Urban and Community Design
  • UDE.D449 : Landscape Design Studio II
  • ARC.P204 : Introduction to Urban Study

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

None required.

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