learn by doing

As a cohort we review academic literature, watch movies and read books and professional articles on city and regional planning and urban design in the U.S., in Vietnam; Asia and the world. We practice participatory research at all levels of engagement — from teaching students methodology and developing hypotheses, to fieldwork data collection, analysis and interpretation. During this mentoring process we attempt to identify both challenges unique to Vietnam and South East Asia more broadly as well as developing a more critical social science eye. The teaching component often directly coincides with laboratory research.

Students learn:

  • City planning and architecture history and contemporary issues
  • Urban design theory
  • Interview, survey, video recording and observation methodology
  • Data entry, formatting and hypothesis testing
  • Cartography, statistics and data science fundamentals

our Projects

The foundation of the Urban Lab is built on students’ direct engagement with their city. What students learn from direct observation teaches them to go beyond what they see as normal or everyday behaviors and habits to ask: how and why do these habits form? How did the built and natural environment form contribute to behavior and habit? What can non-professional urbanists and scientists bring to the research? What insights do young people have about their cities and spaces?

Our research seeks to have a relevant impact on the scientific study of human-centered city design that reflects the local context while contributing to urban and behavioral science scholarship.

View our projects below