GA Conference – Urban Earth

Had the honour of introducing Dan Raven-Ellison’s lecture plus on his Urban Earth project. I’ve known Dan for a few years now and never fail to be enthused by his energy and vision. I like the way in which he challenges the way we think.

In his talk Dan communicated the purposes of Urban Earth very well.

On reflection, there are many classroom uses for Dan’s work that I can think of. Some of these I have used.

1. Show the videos in class. The discussion about the how and why provides rich learning opportunities. For example, what is the objective of the film? How was it made and why were those techniques chosen? What are the limitations and strengths of this method? Could you design something better?

2. Plan and undertake Urban Earth walks around the school grounds or local city, village or rural space. One of the features of the walks is the engagement in familiar, and unfamiliar surroundings. For example, I tracked the evidence of Christmas during the Bristol walk. I found that (on 15th Nov – the date I found out that I was going to be a dad) there was more evidence of Christmas in more deprived areas of Bristol. What will students notice as they engage in the built environment around them? For example, where were the drains manufactured? How does that link us to other parts of the world?

3. We should explore the idea that media is socially constructed. Travel guides, television programs and other media choose to represent places in a particular way. What is the real situation? Are our urban areas really unique in the way they look and feel? Possible links with clone high streets and towns.

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