This paper is a critical reflection, from two disciplinary points of view, on an urban design studio involving architecture and city planning that has evolved over several years at the University of Manitoba. Our reflections on this are fueled by the special edition of the Journal of Urban Design (2016, 21:5) about urban design pedagogy. Initially, the studio was offered as an undergraduate design studio. Studio groups employed an array of graphic tools to illustrate their proposals, but attention most often focused in a model of the city centre. This model caught the attention of design professionals, business associations, and politicians, and generated media attention. Over the first few years, students imagined public realms with little programmatic limitation. Many of the proposals appeared more appropriate to larger cities with rapid growth, unrealistic for a mid-sized, slow-growth city like Winnipeg. We developed a density-visioning exercise that illustrated how the population required for a more vibrant downtown could be accommodated in more modest building heights spread across the whole of downtown, in buildings that could encourage life on all streets. The most recent iterations have included architecture and planning students in distinct but overlapping studios. Each disciplinary group has its own responsibilities and conforms to the different pedagogical cultures of its home department. Interdisciplinary teams determine the overall design approach for specific street-facing blocks and the public realm that they produce. The architecture students take responsibly for the design of individual infill buildings while planning students provide data that determined programmatic elements, propose urban design guidelines, and examine the regulatory challenges that this lower-scale vision might present. The architectural propositions have tested the limits of the urban design guidelines, but city planning students have challenged the architecture students to think about how they contribute to the production of urban spaces.
Richard Milgrom PhD RPP MCIP is an Associate Professor in the Department of City Planning at the University of Manitoba, where he has served as Head since 2008. He has been a licenced architect in Ontario and Manitoba; he is a Registered Professional Planner in Manitoba. He has worked in practices in Toronto, Winnipeg and London, with a focus on participatory design processes and the provision of innovative housing. He has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Manitoba 1980) and a Master of Architecture with a Certificate in Urban Design (Pennsylvania 1986). He completed a PhD in Environmental Studies at York University in 2004 with research based on participation and sustainability in urban design. His current research addresses the social impacts of urban development patterns and urban design, with a particular emphasis on the quality of life for older adults in cities and regions. He is a long-standing member of organizations that advocate for social and environmental justice, including Planners Network and the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA).
Dr. Carlos Rueda is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, having led the Department of Architecture between 2015 and 2020. He is a licensed Architect in Colombia, with a Professional degree (Andes, Bogotá), a Master of Architecture (MArchII, McGill) and a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture (McGill, 2009, ARCC King Medal of Excellence in Research in Architecture and Design). He taught at McGill university for 7 years and earned the (2015) Gerald Sheff Award Teaching Award, has lectured extensively in Europe and the Americas (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, McGill University and UQAM (Montreal), UWO (London, On), Universidad de los Andes, Javeriana and UJTL (Bogotá). Dr Rueda has been published in Canada, Europe, and Colombia, and was Catedrático Asociado and doctoral thesis advisor at Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá, 2011-2015). Carlos Rueda has a book in preparation titled: Para-Doxa: Poetics and Historicity in Contemporary Architecture. Dr. Rueda keeps a critical practice with his firm Monumental and develops creative projects exploring questions of method, imagination and representation of place and landscape with his Lab C.R.E.A. His work situates at the crossroads between phenomenology of place, and architecture.