LABs at Yale-NUS
The Learning Across Boundaries (LABs) program is a co-curricular program developed by the Yale-NUS Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) in collaboration with Yale-NUS Faculty. LABs are faculty-led programs of short duration that allow faculty to share their scholarship with students outside of the traditional classroom and create an opportunity for students to explore themes of the curriculum in a broader context.
London has been a major human settlement for millennia: capital of the UK, a leading global city, and once the metropolitan heart of the British Empire. London is a city in constant transition and this LAB offers students the opportunity to see first hand how London has changed as a city over time, in terms of its architecture, its governance and its social make-up.
LondonLAB 2017 provided students an opportunity to experience a large global city and to see it through an historical and urban studies framework. We visited a number of key localities in London, each telling a different story of London’s ongoing regeneration: be it in the name of Victorian ideas of social and infrastructural improvement, post-war reconstruction, contemporary globalisation, or community development. Some sites reflected slow, incremental urban transformation (such as immigration-led social change or gentrification), while others reflected rapidly realised, grand urban plans.
The LondonLAB had a number of learning goals:
- to understand different logics and scales of urban regeneration
- to appreciate the changing language of regeneration (improvement, renewal, beautification, redevelopment, gentrification)
- to gain an introductory knowledge of architecture – its typologies and styles
- to gain knowledge of the urban planning system in which London development proceeds
- to appreciate the various and differently empowered agents of regeneration in London
- to meet relevant city builders: architects, planners, activists and social entrepreneurs.
The itinerary of the LondonLAB was based around the cardinal points of the compass:
South – Southbank Redevelopment (Prof Jane M. Jacobs Yale-NUS)
West – Victoria Street and surrounds (Emeritus Prof Richard Dennis, Geography, UCL)
East 1 – Docklands and Stratford Olympic Legacy (Emeritus Prof Phil Cohen, University of East London)
East 2 – Whitechapel & Spitalfields (Dr Peter Guillery, Survey of London & Prof Jane M. Jacobs Yale-NUS)
Centre – City of London (Prof Jane M. Jacobs Yale-NUS)
Found Regeneration Website
LondonLAB students worked in groups to make a “found regeneration” website, comprised of 12 images manipulated using Photoshop, a software they acquired expertise in as part of the LAB.
Working in groups of three, students uploaded two manipulated images daily onto the LAB website. We asked students initially to look out for two themes: “strange neighbors” or “old new old”. After a few days of learning to see regeneration in the social and built environment of London, students could generate their own themes and perspectives.
Drawing on their experience of the week students were also asked to generate a 6 point Regeneration coda, a set of principles by which good regeneration should proceed.
At the end of the trip we had a one day charrette in which students produced a materialised version of their found regeneration website. They printed their images and mounted them onto cardboard cubes. On the inside of the cubes they placed their regeneration coda. They then photographed their cubes in situ and loaded the images onto the LondonLAB web. Students then gave oral presentations using the cube as a prop. They then flat packed their cubes and took them back to Singapore were they were exhibited to share the LondonLAB experience with other students.
Professor Jane M. Jacobs, Director, Division of Social Sciences and Professor of Urban Studies
Victoria Marshall, Presidents Fellow NUS and PhD Researcher ETH Future Cities Lab
Adelle Lim, Associate Director, Co-curricular Programs & Special Projects CIPE
University College London