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Designing Living Systems (LARC20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeLARC20001
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Ecological design is an interdisciplinary endeavour that demands a high level of scientific literacy from the lead designer. This subject, Designing Living Systems, examines the technical aspects of ecological design in the urban context.

Through a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials delivered by practitioners and experts from the allied disciplines, this subject guides the students through the process of developing a conceptual ecological design that is grounded in applied urban ecology.

This seminars and studio-based core subject explores the integration of living systems into Melbourne’s urban environments, focusing on where people live and work. The subject builds on theories, principles, practices and representations introduced in Natural History and focuses on design applicability through a series of assignments.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To develop the ability to select plant material palettes and prepare planting plans for a range of urban project scales in Melbourne;
  • To develop an appreciation of the aesthetic, functional and ecological contributions of living systems (native and non-native plants and plant communities, soils and their relationship to micro-climates, water systems, biodiversity, energy and on-going maintenance, performance rating schemes) to contemporary and future urban landscapes;
  • Assimilates ecological design principles, spatial patterns and aesthetic considerations of planting design with the built urban environment, with an emphasis on the research and expression of ecological ideas;
  • Engages with and manipulates the interrelationship between animal, plant, soil, hydrological and climatic conditions;
  • Familiar with the characteristics of commonly used Australian plants and their ecosystems;
  • Develop an understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges specific to ecological design in the urban context;
  • Develop skills in landscape documentation techniques.

Generic skills

  • Critical and spatial thinking
  • Multiscalar spatial analysis
  • Ability to represent concepts and express them through graphic representations, written and oral presentations

Last updated: 1 August 2019