Sol Perez Martinez
My research explores the ideas behind forty Urban Studies Centres implemented by architects, planners and teachers in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s to improve the engagement of citizens with their built environment through education. It examines how these centres and other initiatives intended to enhance civic agency by expanding the perception of citizens and guiding a critical inquiry of the environment. The ‘urban studies movement’, led by Colin Ward, aimed to use the environment as a resource for learning in schools and communities for a more holistic human development and a better integration with civic life. This study argues that the history of British built environment education has been overlooked in architectural history, leaving the story of these radical pedagogical experiments untold. Hence, this research is an attempt to map these civic pedagogy projects and make them available in an archive, so that we can learn from the past to avoid reinventing the wheel once more.