This article discusses the importance of planning and interdisciplinary learning process. It begins by stating: “In this paper we will attempt to bring the debate a step further by exploring how interdisciplinary learning facilitated by a PSS (planning support systems) takes place, in particular in workshop-like settings, and what the conditions are for successful applications. In doing so, we are aiming to answer the following research question: How can a PSS support interdisciplinary communication, in particular learning, and what are the conditions for successful future applications?” (Pelzer, Geertman). It was discussed, for example, how we can plan for sustainable cities using views from multiple disciplines. However, communication may prove difficult between people of different educational backgrounds, such as between land use planners and environmental analysts. Planning support systems were created to integrate knowledge and planning information from multiple disciplines. Both problems and solutions can be viewed and steer the way to fulfilling tasks. The design frame uses visualization and creativity to address problems and tools. Typically used by architects and designers. The analytic frame is a scientific approach. It is used to solve the problem at hand, mostly preformed by analysts. A negotiation frame uses tactical planning, for political and policy science. These frames can be used in multiple perspectives to solve problems when it comes to planning used different disciplines.
Single and double-loop learning are a couple more perspectives. Single-loop consists of in the moment problem solving, while double-loop is a more in depth look at future goals and values. One short term, one long term. Two case studies were preformed regarding urban strategy and interdisciplinary learning. When looking at the results, most students preformed the double-loop method. However, some used to single loop method as well. In the case of these students, they did not focus on grasping the major ideas of other disciplines, rather only minor aspects from those disciplines that pertained to the matter at hand. The conflict between people of different education backgrounds and deciding which tool to use depending on the task at hand can be described as a friction, an always present issue when it comes to interdisciplinary learning. In long term plans such as urban strategy, double-loop planning is ideal as it focuses on the disciplines as a whole and relies on the participants to fully understand each discipline that goes into the development. Interdisciplinary learning and strategies are great tools when combining ideas from more than one focus. They can be used to succesfully mix the most important aspects from each discipline to create an ideal method.
As a beginning interdisciplinarian, these are important tools that can be used even in my focus. Stepping back from a task or issue and deciding if it’s long-term or short-term is a must. As they each have their own steps and work very differently.
Pelzer, P., Geertman, S., (2014). Planning Support Systems & Interdisciplinary Learning. Planning Theory & Practice, 15(7), 527-542. doi: 10.1080/14649357.2014.963653
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