My time posting on the Newcastle University Urban Design Blog is over and it’s time to reflect on my experience, skills learned and how the process could be improved for future Urban Design students.
It’s been very interesting to see the different ways in which each of the lectures have been interpreted or the ideas that they have triggered so thank you to my colleagues for engaging some interesting debate. The subjects covered in the lecture series have been varied and stimulating. Posting on the blog has given me skills in research and expressing a point of view as I have found that it can be easy to explain ideas about urban design without engaging a point of view. The fortnightly meetings as a group were an efficient method for resolving any issues bloggers had with a directive chair responsible for implementing action, a process I was involved with through the taking of minutes.
The permanence of the posts is something that I found particularly difficult and I have found committing to pressing the ‘publish’ button difficult. Also, I think the very public nature is unlike any other writing I have done before and therefore it’s very intimidating that everyone can read the posts and that they are accessible to potential future employers. Furthermore, as I do not find writing easy, I am not confident in my writing ability and don’t like to think that it is a skill that a first opinion of myself could be based on. It might be a useful exercise for the university to hold blog-post workshops where the first blog post is discussed and constructively debated, helping to reduce stigma about judging our writing capabilities.
The blog has forced me to engage with and try something I would not have otherwise and so has been a very enriching experience. Acting as a platform to reflect upon and read my peers opinions, fuelling debate and discussing important urban design issues. Reading the other blogs posted has even been inspiration for my own posts and I think that adds to the richness of the discussion across the blog. Adil’s article on regeneration led me into my own research and opinion development on development of cities and the resulting post titled ‘Generation Retrofit: Fabric, Function and Finance’.
While blogging is not something that I shall continue I am certainly encouraged to read more to challenge my own arguments. It has been a valuable experience with lots of skills and lesson learnt, as well as is it forcing me to practice a key skill that I find particularly difficult. I also appreciate the variety of the types of assessment covered in the course and this format particularly has forced bloggers to have an opinion and engage with our relationship with the urban context. This development of character is valuable as I choose my own interests and translate them into professional practice.