Collaborative Design Research: Linking universities with government policy-makers
In an essay in The Endless City: The Urban Age Project (2007), Deyan Sudjic proposes that the problems of our cities can be understood and managed through collaboration between three groups: policymakers, builders and theorists. The Regional Urban Studies Laboratory (RUSL) led by the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Tasmania provides collaborative practice-based research that links the academy – as theorists - with the local government - the policymakers and city builders. RUSL works directly with local authorities to examine urban issues in small towns and cities, developing collaborative processes that examine the specific nature of design issues that are socially, culturally and/or situationally conditioned. Research through the medium of design provides a process of iterative thinking, and the crossover between the disciplines of architecture, planning, sociology and economics provide fertile ground for research investigations. Relationships between the academy and political institutions further enrich this potential.