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Learning in the 21th Century: The City as a Laboratory
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

We are living in a globalized world where everything and everyone is connected at all times and society is changing in a faster pace than ever before. Old knowledge becomes obsolete and needs to be continuously replaced by new one, creating the need for learning to be life-long. The American futurist Alvin Toffler claimed as early as in the 1990s, that in order to be literate in the 21st century one must be able to learn, unlearn and relearn - but still our learning institutions look very much the same as they did during most of the 20th century. We are educated at a fixed period of life and taught a predetermined skill-set by our teachers to prepare us for future work. The issues we are facing are serious, such as global warming, automation and digitalization, and we are in urgent need of both unlearning and relearning how to live.

Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship have become political buzzwords, wide spoken by governments around the globe when trying to tackle the issues of an uncertain future and the need to reinvent in order to adapt. They are the individual skills that both politicians and the market are craving. However, creativity has mostly been linked to creative and high-tech industries - as means of being competitive in the harsh 21st century global work environment. As a result, we have seen how an unjust and unequal system has developed, and the rise of a new class. The creative class, as described by Richard Florida, holds vast privileges over other classes; earning substantially more money, and playing a leading role in the gentrification processes of cities. This asks an important question of who can be creative and innovative. Are these skills reserved for the select few, or can everyone be creative and innovative? Perhaps a new, more social, civic and democratic definition is needed to truly fit the issues we are facing in the 21st century. How can creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship be learned, actively pursued and continuously practiced by each and everyone in ways that do not solely benefit personal interest, but society at large?

The aim of this thesis is to explore the role of architecture in a society that demands creativity and innovation, and how it can act to empower the individual. It will discuss how society is changing, both in the broader context of western societies and in the local context of Umeå, and how learning institutions can adapt for continuous unlearning and relearning. How do we create frameworks that nurture creative possibilities, and grants equal opportunities for everyone?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Architecture
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-138800DiVA, id: diva2:1137457
External cooperation
Educational program
Architecture Program
Presentation
2017-05-31, 11:55
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-08-31 Created: 2017-08-31 Last updated: 2017-08-31Bibliographically approved

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