2019 An Introduction to Urban Design and Built Environment

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Urban Design and Built Environment
Asawa Takashi 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
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Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

This course is for students who will engage in research in graduate school. The instructors will present examples of what process they used to choose research topics. Two or three instructors will lecture in one class. Through these experiences, students will be better able to write their master's thesis or select a specific topic for problem solving. Following the lecture, we will discuss approaches to selecting research topics in a three-way discussion (or panel discussion) format. Students are expected to actively participate in the discussions, which includes asking questions.

The lecture is held over the course of 5 weeks, after which students split into groups to offer proposals of topics conceivable for master's thesis research, and discuss with one another their feasibility and academic value as research. Students will select one hypothetical master's thesis topic from the topic proposals offered from different fields, examine research methods and a schedule for completing it, and prepare for the final presentation.

In the final class, students will make presentations on the research topic of the hypothetical master's thesis prepared by the previous week. Students will define in the presentation (1) what, (2) to what extent, and (3) with what methods they will research, as well as (4) a tentative schedule, and (5) what social contributions and results can be gained from the research. After the presentation a Q&A and discussion will be held on the feasibility and relevance of the topic.

Student learning outcomes

The objectives of this course are as follows.
1) Understand the diversity involved with selecting a research topic.
2) Understand the differences between research methods for different fields
3) Be able to listen to and understand the opinion of others through discussion. Also, be able to express one's own opinion for others to understand it.
4) Be able to follow the progression of the discussion and ask clear questions.


research topic, determining topic, different fields, discussion, question

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

In each class, two instructors will freely talk from their perspective about how they have selected research topics, in lecture format. Lectures will be held jointly by instructors from different fields. We will then do Q&A and discussion on select methods for topics and the reasons behind it, either in three-way discussions or panel discussions.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction, Topic of Professors 1 and 2 introduction, research topics
Class 2 Topic of Professors 3 and 4 research topics
Class 3 Topic of Professors 5 and 6 research topics
Class 4 Topic of Professors 7 and 8 research topics
Class 5 Topic of Professors 9 and 10 research topics, grouping
Class 6 Topic of Professors 11 and 12 research topics, grouping
Class 7 Topic of Professors 13 and 14 research topics, grouping
Class 8 Topic of Professors 15 and 16, Report theme research topics, grouping, preparing report


No textbook

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Materials are handed out.

Assessment criteria and methods

Discussion and report presentations are graded.

Related courses

  • UDE.Z493 : Urban Design and Built Environment Laboratory S1

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

No requirements

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