Playing in the Courtyard: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Designing Space in the Heart of the City

By Andrew Buss and Leslie Elkins.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At the 2nd International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Miami, we argued that work methodologies for different disciplines such as dance and software development are actually quite similar and that both are driven ultimately by the Creative Process as defined by various researchers. We further proposed that using the Creative Process as the primary link between disciplines provides opportunities to bring together different fields and practitioners for collaboration and design creation. This year’s paper serves as the practical application of last year’s proposal and provides a case study in an academic environment. We developed and taught a course in the Geography and Urban Studies Department at Temple University that provided an interdisciplinary opportunity for both students and instructors to collaborate on a design product. The course brought together the disciplines of Dance, Architecture, and Geography in order to examine various design methodologies and introduced students to the Creative Process as a methodological basis for design. Because it plays a significant role in each discipline’s theoretical foundation, the concept of space served as the unifying component for the course and permitted students to collaborate in an interdisciplinary fashion to create a design proposal for a well known urban space in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This paper will highlight the design and teaching processes for the course.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Coursework, Collaboration, Design Processes

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.97-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.891MB).

Andrew Buss

Strategic Planning Coordinator, Division of Technology, City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Andrew Buss is a Strategic Planner for the Division of Technology in the City of Philadelphia and previously managed information technology projects across several different agencies. Andrew also teaches for Temple University in the Geography and Urban Studies Department. His coursework has included Senior Seminar, a project management based course for department seniors, as well as a newly developed course examining pre and post-Katrina New Orleans. Additionally, he participates in an interdisciplinary course examining design methodologies and the Creative Process. Andrew earned a Master’s Degree in Geography from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Macalester College.

Dr. Leslie Elkins

Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, Rowan University, Philadelphia, NJ, USA

Leslie Elkins is an Assistant Professor in the Rowan University Department of Theatre and Dance. She teaches several courses including Dance History, World Dance Forms, Creative Dance for Children, and Dance Improvisation. Additionally, she is participating in an interdisciplinary course examining design methodologies and the Creative Process. Leslie earned a Ph.D. in Dance at Temple University, and her dissertation, Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, is a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving her work with two Philadelphia-based artists. Prior to her doctoral work, Leslie earned a Master of Education in Dance from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Columbia College in South Carolina. She is also the founding member of “Foursome”, a collaborative arts group currently producing work to be shown at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.


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