A pre-disciplinary approach to built environments education: teaching Seattle on foot

Daniel E. Coslett, James Robert Thompson

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Educators increasingly pursue inter- and transdisciplinary pedagogies to facilitate more holistic approaches to the design, use, and interpretation of built environments. Through the presentation of one particular example of such efforts—an introductory, mixed qualitative methods, undergraduate course—this article explores three pedagogical principles central to its integrated approach: pre-disciplinarity, experiential and place-based learning, and instructional scaffolding. The course cultivates awareness of overlapping transdisciplinary themes of contemporary relevance beyond its immediate context, incorporating traditional lectures, curated city walks, small group discussion sessions, and a series of written reflections. Following a brief description of the class’s content and its successful implementation, the article demonstrates how such courses can yield meaningful experiences that promote critical engagement with the city and desirable lifelong learning for future design professionals and others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalThe International Journal of the Constructed Environment
Issue number2
Early online date12 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • pedagogy
  • pre-disciplinarity
  • built environments
  • city
  • walking
  • Seattle


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