Welcome to Advanced Sustainable Design. My name is John Brennan and I will be your Programme Director. I’d like to talk about the skills you will develop over your year with us as it’s a question you often ask at this stage of the process.

We are one of only a few programmes that put design at the very heart of your studies. To make effective sustainable strategies you often face a challenge of making sense of impossibly large volumes of data and information. Through our design practice, you construct your own ways to navigate these challenges effectively.

Our first project asks how we can design substantial new settlements. Rather than starting off with a series of checklists, we find ways of designing and communicating infrastructure networks for the key flows of energy and food. You gain skills in thinking about problems both visually and conceptually.

Our programme is popular with applicants with a background in architecture but we very much welcome a wide range of disciplines from the humanities to engineering and the sciences. Whatever your background, we concentrate on improving your written and visual communication skills. Sustainable design and development proposals often fail simply because they’re not explained well enough.

Advanced Sustainable Design is all about buildings, neighbourhoods and cities. These are incredibly complex systems. A purely technical response to a perceived problem will always produce at best a partial solution. Instead, we think carefully about people; their social and cultural values and how sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods work way beyond just carbon reduction.

We also work with quantitative tools, so you can test design ideas through measurement and prediction. You have an opportunity to take elective courses that provide you with skills in building simulation and complements your studies.

When you graduate, you will have a wide portfolio of skills be able to conceptualise sustainable strategies in spatial and visual ways. Whatever you choose to do; it’s not about what you know, but how you’ve learned to think critically and creatively about our environment.

The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) helps you gain the academic skills, and confidence needed for studying at postgraduate level. They provide online resources and a wide range of workshops (both on-campus and online), covering critical thinking right through to dissertation planning and exam prep.

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