In October 2008 the Department of Urban Design, Planning and Disaster Management and the Department of Architecture in the Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies were selected for the Support Program to Improve Graduate School Education (Graduate School GP). Our program, Habitat Engineering as an Approach to Realize Sustainable Asian Cities, aims to produce researchers who will pursue methodology and technology to achieve a self-sufficient society by creating sustainable Asian cities and architecture.
Our 21st Century COE Program, Architecture of Habitat System for Sustainable Development (2003 - 2007), aimed to develop sustainable body engineering by conducting research into environmental load reduction technologies for urbanology and architecture as well as related fields. Currently, our two departments are jointly conducting education and research into sustainable urban and architecture systems based on the results from the 21st Century COE Program.
Creating self-sufficient cities and architecture, which are in harmony with nature, is a global issue, and is a problem for cities with rising populations in regions like Asia as well as mature cities with declining populations such as those in Japan and Europe. Hence, a universal methodology to address the dynamics of both types of cities, and specialists to implement this methodology are required. It has become apparent that sustainability cannot be realized unless a new direction is taken in Asia, which faces urgent urban and habitation problems due to a population explosion.
Thus, it is crucial for universities to foster specialists knowledgeable and capable in the fields of urbanology and architecture to address these issues in Asia. To solve these problems, our departments have pioneered a new program in habitat engineering to strengthen education and research on sustainable urban and architectural systems based on the achievements in education and research, such as those from our 21st Century COE Program. In addition to welcoming students from Japan, we will be opening our doors to international students from Asia as well as collaborating with other major Asian universities to nurture outstanding specialists and researchers, who will shoulder the task of providing solutions to urban issues in Asia.
The direction of habitat evolution, which is a concept that encompasses lifestyles and habitation environment to social infrastructure in various regions, greatly affects not only the affluence of the society, but also the future global environment. Although the level of carbon dioxide emission negatively affects habitat, it is increasing. Realization of a low carbon society and a sustainable habitat in rapidly expanding Asian cities in accordance with social dynamics such as population growth is one of the biggest issues in urbanology and architecture.
However, conventional engineering alone will not solve these problems, but an interdisciplinary approach to clarify the relationship between affluence in habitation and environmental load will become essential. Our Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, which aims to conduct interdisciplinary education and research by amalgamating engineering technologies and social welfare, is proving to be more and more important in producing specialists to work in this area.
This program will build upon our achievements in activities, including education and research successes at the Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies and our 21st Century COE Program results, to elucidate the impact of urbanology and architecture on urgent urban issues and to realize a sustainable society in Asia. Through this effort, we will train specialists capable of solving these issues by alter the direction of habitat evolution so that it is consistent with regional sustainability and creating new paradigms and methodologies, which prevent issues like environmental problems from being amplified.
The Department of Urban Design, Planning and Disaster Management and the Department of Architecture launched the Sustainable Urban Architecture Course (Ph.D. program) and the Sustainable Urban Architecture Program (Masterfs program) in April 2008. When society demands sustainability of cities and architecture, we are one of the few programs to specialize on these topics to respond to those demands.
By taking advantage of the characteristics of an interdisciplinary graduate school between humanities and science, this Support Program to Improve Graduate School Education (Graduate School GP) considers these new programs as platforms to develop a Habitat Engineering education, which produce young specialists and researchers capable of pursuing methodology and technology that will realize a sustainable habitat. Our endeavors will be carried out in collaboration with the UN-HABITAT Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (United Nations Settlements Programme) as well as by sending our graduate students to real-world fields related to urban issues and habitation environment in Asia so they receive training and mentoring from specialists during their studies.
This Support Program to Improve Graduate School Education aims to foster abilities necessary to specialize in urban issues and to pursue sustainability of habitat in Asia. We have three main goals, which will be realized through a multi-disciplinary and international approach.
Researchers must be capable of grasping their specialty field in relation to other fields, which can be achieved by acquiring a broad range of knowledge in Asian urban issues.
Because a sustainable society is a complex, global issue, it is crucial that specialists are able to collaborate and communicate in the international arena.
Specialists must be able to apply their knowledge to develop and implement realistic solutions.
We will offer unique educational opportunities by introducing Type ³ Amalgamated Education Program, which merges the second year of the Masterfs Program with the first year of the Ph.D. Program as this is when graduate students have an acute thirst for knowledge and academic activities in a unified curriculum. Moreover, we will clarify the steps necessary to achieve the above objectives and the requirements to earn a degree.
An interdisciplinary education will be achieved through intensive lectures and case studies given by leading experts in Japan and around the globe in fields related to complex urban issues in Asia. The acquisition of a broad perspective by each graduate student will be evaluated using his or her portfolio, which summarizes in-class discussions and independent research projects.
Additionally, we will provide opportunities to study overseas through survey work (three to twelve months) and research camps (one to two weeks). These overseas endeavors are in conjunction with other universities in Asia. Graduate studentsf international leadership will be assessed through presentations in English and participation in discussions.
We will offer international internship programs (one unit is three-months) in conjunction with the UN-HABITAT Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. These internships allow students to participate in local projects. Additionally, we will host career path forums where graduate students apply their specialty knowledge with governments and the industry. Moreover, we will evaluate their execution ability using activity reports from their supervising experts and their portfolios.
We will be editing and continually publishing peer review academic journals, which contain papers written by our Ph.D. students as well as researchers and graduate students from Japan and around the world to build an academic network for habitat engineering. Moreover, we will be hosting international symposia to provide venues for our students to present and discuss their research results. These symposia will provide opportunities to verify the effectiveness and versatility their research results with experts as well as view their research from different angles, which may aid in writing their dissertations.