Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interdisciplinary Teaching in Land Use Planning

Over at the Land Use Prof blog, Tony Arnold offers a description of an interdisciplinary Land Use and Planning Law course, which includes both law students and graduate students in urban planning:

  The course has a heavy skills development focus with students participating in interdisicplinary teams on a simulated board of zoning adjustment hearing on a CUP application for a biofuel plant in a low-income minority neighborhood (based on a real case study) and preparing substantial service-learning reports on complex land-use issues for government agencies and nonprofit organizations.  The students learn a lot by working on real-world problems and having to work in teams.  The projects also pull the students much more deeply into cutting-edge issues than merely reading and discussing cases in the classroom can do (although we do some of that, as well, to prepare them for their projects).

This interdisciplinary courses teach students in one discipline how students and professionals in other fields view the same issue and think about problem solving in different ways. This is important knowledge to have.

The nature of these courses opens another issue, which needs consideration. When clinicians and legal research and writing professors take a role in a substantive course, are they just assisting in the doctrinal course or are they also offering different ways ofthinking about the subject matter?


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