DESST 3517 - Environment III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

Students in this course will consider cities, landscapes and urban environments as complex living systems within ethical and political contexts. At metropolitan and local scales issues of planning and design including: urban sprawl, public space, perpetual growth, plants, energy, climate change, resources, microclimate, transport, water, waste, agriculture and energy will be explored. The course aims to develop skills in critical thinking and knowledge of the technological, building codes standards, scientific and cultural factors that drive and define the problems that designers engage with to make positive contributions.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 3517
    Course Environment III
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge DESST 2517
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDes & B.E(Arch) students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description Students in this course will consider cities, landscapes and urban environments as complex living systems within ethical and political contexts.

    At metropolitan and local scales issues of planning and design including: urban sprawl, public space, perpetual growth, plants, energy, climate change, resources, microclimate, transport, water, waste, agriculture and energy will be explored. The course aims to develop skills in critical thinking and knowledge of the technological, building codes standards, scientific and cultural factors that drive and define the problems that designers engage with to make positive contributions.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Ehsan Sharifi

    Dr Ehsan Sharifi
    Phone: 08-8313-0317
    Drop-in for Students to Dr Ehsan Sharifi: Thursdays 12-2pm (Room 475, Horace Lamb Building)
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Fridays, 9:00-10:00am, Chapman Lecture Theatre, N158 Engineering North

    Tutorials 10am-12pm / 1-3pm / 3-5pm BSS 509/510/511


  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    A. Develop an understanding of the various physical, social-cultural, political-economic, and historical layers of the city and the ways these interact to form the urban environment.
    B. Be capable of using general theoretical models and analytical approaches to dissect existing urban phenomena in Adelaide and developing critical (re)framings and interpretations of these phenomena.
    C. Develop an experiential sensitivity curious about the life of cities, and a creative imagination that visualises how cities change, and is able to represent this imagination using text, image and data

    D. Acquire in-depth research skills of at least one of the following modes in application to urban analysis and representation: (1) mapping; (2) data and infographics; (3) documentation (graphic and photographic); (4) interviewing; (5) critical essay writing.
    E. Gain knowledge of the process of producing a book, and associated skills in graphic design and layout.
    F. Build abilities in teamwork and time management for group and individual work.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    A, B, C, D
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    B, D, F
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    B, E, F
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    C, E
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    A, C
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed reader or course pack for this course, but specific readings and other materials may be assigned and/or made available through MyUni. Students are also expected to be able to independently research relevant readings and materials while working on their assignments, drawing on the collections in the Barr-Smith library, the State Library of South Australia, the City of Adelaide archives, as well as other local or specialist collections where warranted.
    Recommended Resources
    A partial list of recommended readings to provide starting points for further research will made available to students through email and MyUni. Other recommended resources, including software, online tools, and production techniques, will also be developed progressively over the course of the semester and posted to MyUni or circulated via email.
    Students are encouraged to take an active interest in the research activities of the department, including the programs of CAMEA and CASRU, as well as the Speaker Series talks and other occasional events.
    Online Learning
    University Email:
    The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    MyUni is an essential online tool which will be used to communicate information regarding the course including details of assignments and interim grades. There are many other learning resources and assessment pieces that rely on the MyUni system for delivery. Therefore it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the various functions of MyUni and employ it to its fullest extent.

    Discussion Board:
    The MyUni Discussion Board can be used to interact with other students and tutors and is an essential tool to discuss information and increase your understanding of issues.

    Lecture Recording:
    In certain cases the recording of the lectures is made available in electronic format for students to listen through on their own time and make notes, and is provided through the MyUni system. However, this service is only available for lectures with essential course content and may not include guest lectures. Furthermore, where the presentation content is subject to copyright or the guest speaker is uncomfortable with the recording of the content, the lecture recording will not be made available online. So students should not rely solely on this mode of learning and arrange to attend or get lecture content from peers.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at current-student
    Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course advances its learning objectives primarily through a project-based approach built around the production of the “Readings” project books, delivered with a combination of lecture and tutorial modes. Online-based collaborative and communication modes also constitute an important aspect of the course. The MyUni system will provide the basic online platform for the course, but other online tools and media may also be explored and employed.

    Lectures define the common core of the subject, delivering the basic references and knowledge defining the course content. All students come together at one time in the lecture room - for this reason lectures are also an important space for overall organisation and feedback. Attendance at lectures is therefore essential. Where students are unable to attend lectures, review of the lecture is required through posted recordings and presentation materials posted on MyUni.

    Tutorials are the working space for the subject. Capped at 27 students, this is where the concepts and materials from lectures are discussed, clarified, and applied through small group discussion and collaboration, guided by the tutor. The tutorials are also where the main face-to-face collaborative working arrangements are developed and sustained in order to advance the work leading to the completion of the project books.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements:
    The University expects full‐time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote at the minimum 12 hours per week to contact activities and self‐guided studies.
    Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:
    Total workload hrs: 12 hours per wk x 14 wks (inc. of mid‐semester break) = 168 hours
    Total contact hours: 3 hours per week x 12 weeks = 36 hours
Total self‐guided study: 168 – 36 hours = 132 hours
    These 132 hours should be used towards for working on the various assignments associated with the course, including development of requisite research, knowledge, and skills. Please organise your time wisely!
    Learning Activities Summary
    WK1 Jul 31 L01 Introduction T01 Introduction A0 “Reading Home" issued
    WK2 Aug 07 "L02 Elaboration
    Film: “Urbanized”" "T02 A0 pinup
    Theme discussion" "A0 Submission
    A1 "Defining Readings" issued" Initial forays
    WK3 Aug 14 L03 Time T03 Discussion 02; Workgroup setting "Form workgroups
    Explore city 01"
    WK4 Aug 21 L04 Work T04 Fieldtrip (TBC) "
    " "Explore city 02
    Define investigations"
    WK5 Aug 28 L05 Play T05 A1 Progress Define investigations
    WK6 Sep 04 L06 Guest Lecture (TBC) "T06 A1 Review
    " "A1 Submission
    A2 "Develop Reading" issued"
    WK7 Sep 11 L07 Framing a Reading 01: Question+Method T07 A2 Progress 01 Refine investigations
    WK8 Sep 18 L08 Framing a Reading 02: Documentation; Visualisation; Interpretation T08 A2 Progress 02 Pursue individual investigations - Gather data 01
    BREAK 1 Sep 25 Pursue individual investigations - Gather data 02
    BREAK 2 Oct 02 "Editors’ group forms;
    Analyse+interpret data/material"
    WK9 Oct 09 L09 Production 01 T09 A2 Review "A2 Submission
    A3 “Assemble Readings” issued" Adjust individual investigations;
    WK10 Oct 16 L10 Production 02 T10 A3 Progress 01 "Finalise individual investigations
    prepare outputs."
    WK11 Oct 23 L11 Conclusion: Mobilising Urban Readings T11 A3 Progress 02 Flow in content; Layout pages
    WK12 Oct 30 L12 Final Words, Review T12 Final Book Review A3 Submission Deliver book files
    WK13 Nov 06 EXTRA: Book Production Print books
    Specific Course Requirements
    Failure to attend teaching due to medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances is dealt with the School Policy, administered by the School Office. Submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration together with the original signed medical or other relevant officer, to the School Office. If you foresee a problem contact the Course Coordinator BEFORE the problem actually occurs. Otherwise, contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible and submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration to the School Office.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    A majority of teaching and learning excercises during tutorials are caries via small group discovery experience when students analyse urban environmental issues from different points of view. 
    Assignment 2 presentation is a small group experience.
    Assignment 3 is a small group discovery experience.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Type Due Date Weight Course Learning Objectives
    "Assignment 0
    “Reading Home”" "Individual
    (Calibration)" "Week 2
    7 August 2015" 5% C
    "Assignment 1
    “Defining Readings”" Group "Week 6
    4 September 2015" 25% A, B, C, D, F
    "Assignment 2
    “Develop Reading”" Individual "Week 9
    9 October 2015" 50% A, B, C, D, E
    "Assignment 3
    “Assemble Readings”" Group/Individual "Week 12
    30 October 2015" "5%
    10%" E, F
    Assessment Related Requirements
    To do well, students need to participate in all class activities. Please make sure you attend regularly and come prepared for class.
    Key tutorial sessions are on Week 3, Week 9 snd Week 12 in which students present their assignments.
    Assessment Detail
    *Assignment 1 is an individual task - 30%
    In Assignment 1 students produce a critical summary of a text reading on urban environments.
    Each student should select one chapter of the source book introduced bellow and provide: 
    A summary of the chapter in 1000 words (10%)
    A summary table/chart/graphic/sketch of the selected chapter
    Acceptable file formats are PDF and DOC(X)
    The source book:
    Newman, P., & Jennings, I. (2012). Cities as sustainable ecosystems: principles and practices. Island Press.
    It is available at the UofA library at:
    In the summary text, there should be at least additional 10 citations (Author, Date) including two related to a controversial concept or a critique to the chapter. 
    The summary table/chart/graphic/sketch should be embedded in the summary text with proper referencing (instructions will be provided in the tutorials).   
    This assignment is evaluated based on research in architecture and urban design standards including:
    argument development
    citation sufficiency, style and accuracy
    original writing (plagiarism standards)
    proper usage of Language
    presentation quality and clarity
    A PDF/DOC(X) file 
    Acceptable similarity rate (Turnitin): 20% overall)

    *Assignment 2 is a individual task - 30%
    **The works of individuals are summarised in group presentations in week 9 (3-4 members in each group).
    In Assignment 2 students collect and analyse urban microclimate and public life data in the City of Adelaide. This assignment addresses the ongoing strategies on urban greening and public space and public life enhancement in the City of Adelaide local council.
    Site: North-East quarter of the City of Adelaide (exact working spots to be chosen by the students during tutorials)
    Assignment requirements:
    Students are given essential instruments (temperature data logger, anemometer, IR thermometer and mobile fish-eye lens) and data collection sheets to measure and record temperature, humidity, wind speed, radiant temperature and sky view factor. People metabolic and thermal insulation are generalised based on observation data.
    Each students observe and records people outdoor activities and microclimate measurements for 6 sets of 5-minute observations (between 11am and 3pm weekdays) and surveys 10 random people thermal sensation votes (while recording thermal comfort parameters).
    Data are put together for groups of 3-4 students and get assessed against outdoor thermal comfort predictors of aPMV, OUT-SET and UTCI.
    Each group measures urban surface covers in their site via i-Tree Canopy
    Each group simulate and analyse microclimate conditions in their site via ENVI-met
    Each group model shading conditions in their site via Rhino/SketchUp
    Outcomes are presented on week 9 on the basis of 15 minutes per group via Power Point slides).
    To analyse:
    Site microclimate conditions
    Site state of public life
    Site surface covers
    Site shading dynamics
    To present:
    Class presentation on week 9 (15 minutes per group of 3 students including site context, microclimate and public life analysis)
    PowerPoint presentation (max 30 slides - MyUni upload)
    Collected raw data in Excel file (MyUni upload)

    *Assignment 3 is a group task (3 students) - 30%
    In Assignment 3 students propose design options to enhance environmental and social sustainability in their site (analysed in Assignment 2).
    Site: Same as Assignment 2
    To improve:
    Site microclimates (extended outdoor thermal comfort) via permanent/temporary architectural/landscape features
    Site sustainability status via on-site energy/water/food harvesting
    Submission format:
    2 Posters (sheets of 420x1180 or similar area - vertical or horizontal - overall should fit in A0)
    Posters should include context, analysis and design
    Posters should be printed and be presented by the group on W12
    A digital JPG TIFF or PDF format of the posters should be uploaded online

    Weekly Quiz
    2 multiple choice questions every week available on MyUni - 10%


    Task/Assignment No. & Name Due date Time Weight Submission Method
    Assignment 1: Urban Environment Reading Summary 12 Aug 10pm 30 online 
    Assignment 2: Public Space and Public Life Analysis 21 Sep 10pm 30 online and presentation
    Assignment 3: Designing for Sustainable Adelaide 2 Nov 10pm 30 online and presentation
    Weekly Quizzes Fridays 10pm 10 online via MyUni
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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