About SIGUS Practitioners


Visiting Practitioners Program


An Opportunity to Reflect, to Review Current Thinking, and to Focus Experiences

A SIGUS Activity School of Architecture and Planning MIT

This program for practitioners focuses on issues of design, method, and practice in housing, settlements, and community participation, particularly in the Third World. Participants attend 8-10 weeks, with activities oriented around a topic of interest to the participant. The program is offered each year from February through April. English is the language of instruction.

Three types of activities are highlighted:

CORE ACTIVITY - INDIVIDUAL STUDY The focus of the 8-10 week program is an intensive self-motivated study program structured around the interests of the participant. Meetings are held each week with core faculty, selected according to the interest area. Other faculty are drawn in as needed in exploring different aspects and broadening the base of research. Participants are requested to bring with them material from work in which they are currently involved, or a project which is of particular interest to them. The material should allow concentration on physical planning, programming, design, or community participation. The detailed schedule will of necessity be structured with the participants upon their arrival. However, as an example, special sessions are nominally organized as follows:

A typical day would be structured as follows:

*Evenings Attendance at special lectures throughout the Cambridge/Boston community.

SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES - THE SIGUS WORKSHOPS The SIGUS workshops focus on current issues in housing and urbanization. In an interactive, participatory workshop setting, guest faculty are brought in from practice to examine and debate issues relating theory with practice. The workshops complement the individual research activities of the participants. Of particular interest is the January field workshop abroad. SIGUS (Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement) activities span the disciplines of the School of Architecture and Planning. The guest faculty are drawn from international agencies, government ministries, and practitioners who work in conjunction with MIT faculty to give "hands-on" experience to participants in actual projects dealing with current issues. In each workshop, the participants become aware of the valid but conflicting criteria and learn about negotiation and trade-offs required in reaching a consensus.

SUPPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES - LECTURES, SPECIAL EVENTS One of the unique resources in the Cambridge/Boston community is the extensive lectures, presentations and discussions offered at MIT and other area universities throughout the school year. Programs of interest are found at Harvard University, particularly in the Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate School of Design; at Boston University; and at the Fletcher School of Government at Tufts University. Participants may take advantage of all of these special programs which - when taken together - could by themselves be a very broad program. Frequent guest faculty visitors supplement and further enrich the program.

OUTCOME - A summary report is expected from each participant. Much importance is placed on this report, as it represents the participant's efforts during the program period. When appropriate, the report will be published as part of the Working Paper Series in the Special Interest Group in Urban Settlements. Projects from past participants have included the following topics: - "Low Income Housing in Jordan 1980-1987: A Technical Review of Selected Projects" - "Linking the Building Industry, Housing for the Poor, and Development" - "An Approach to Rebuilding Settlements in Disaster Situations in Egypt" - "Learning from Experience: Lesson Drawing from Projects in Colombo, Sri Lanka" A certificate will be granted to each participant upon successful completion of the workshops and submittal of a summary report. Costs: Administrative costs are $250 each week. The costs cover the use of facilities and the use of a research space. Living expenses, travel, and materials and supplies are additional. Participants generally stay at bed and breadkfasts within the Cambridge area. Dates: Participants are expected to arrive in February at the start of the academic term, and depart in April, for a total period of 8 weeks. However, many have found a stay of 10 weeks to be more suitable. The program is administered through the SIGUS Program in the School of Architecture and Planning.