Table 2 with class topics, skills, and assignments inserted from syllabus

4 Dimensions of Understanding









A. Transformed intuitive beliefs

A. Healthy skepticism

A. Awareness of the purposes of knowledge

A. Mastery of performance genres

Connecting common sense with the discipline – Intuitive beliefs are questioned, but they inform the discipline

Can understand that knowledge is constructed by humans and see how one can ask too much of single methods

Look for why this knowledge is important and why it is important in people's lives

Can move easily through different means of communication and create new protocols when needed.

What makes great places?

What makes great neighborhoods?

What makes great streets?

- Start semester by asking students to answer these questions.

- Have readings and class sessions on each question.

- Ask students questions again at the end in a take-home exam.

- Ask students to explain why their design creates an great place.

Engage experts from allied professions: engineering, landscape architecture, ecology, and architecture along with the experience of a practicing planner.

- Guest speakers from each profession engage students and advise students on their projects.

Engage experts in what makes art and the design of posters for visual communication.

- Use art museum resources.

- Guest speaker on poster design. Poster expert returns to critique posters.

Use examples of great places, great neighborhoods, and great streets.

- Look at APA award winners.

Use site planning process to understand its logic and why it is useful.

- Break final project into pieces and allow for practice and feedback.

- Practice site design in class.

Learn written and visual communication skills.

- Create programming description handout.

- Learn how an artist sees the world and practice drawing skills in low pressure manner.

- Learn Photoshop and InDesign software.

- Engage expert in poster design.

B. Coherent and rich conceptual webs

B. Building knowledge in the domain

B. Uses of knowledge

B. Effective use of symbol systems

Can move easily from specifics to broader generalizations

Use of professional methods in a variety of ways or in new, upper level ways.

Realizing multiple uses and that they can create new uses. How to "see" the world through the discipline's lenses

Can use symbols as effective communication tools and can use them in creative ways when needed.

-Focusing on the "great" questions

- Looking at APA award winners

-Going through the design process in class (figure 2).

-Breaking the design process into assignments.

-Having guest speakers on each step of the design process.

Model professional behavior.

- Guests from allied professions.

- Landscape architects show how to do a site analysis and how to do a conceptual design.

Practice professional behavior.

- Assignments correspond with design process.

- In-class exercises give experience with meeting site design challenges.

Using technical knowledge in creative ways.

- Taking expert and technical information and combining it with design principles.

- Seeing examples of final designs and how they evolved out of site analyses.

- Applying artistic design principles to actual sites.

Learn site planning symbol systems.

- Importance of scale and north arrow.

- Exposure to penmanship of design.

- Use of symbols in art.

- Exposure and practice use of symbol system used by site designers.

- Reading topography maps.


C. Validating knowledge in the domain

C. Ownership and autonomy

C. Consideration of audience and context


Use of multiple methods of validation which are open to change

Students feel authorized to use their knowledge and see consequences from different points of view.

Effective communication entails taking different worldviews into consideration and being good listeners. Can use context to enhance communication.


Seeing the world through allied professions.

- Using knowledge from different experts in site design.

Understanding client needs and wants.

- Working with actual client on real-world project.

Applying new knowledge.

- Use of experts knowledge in final project.

- Use of client wants and needs in final project.

- Use of artistic and poster design knowledge in final project.


Understanding biological, cultural, and physical attributes of sites.

- Practice in class.

- Use in assignments and final project.

- Engage allied professions.

Understanding context.

- Listening to client.

- Visiting the site.

- Doing a site analysis.

Based on Tables 6.1 - 6.5 (Mansilla and Gardner 1998, 184-196)