Matluba Khan, a Landscape Architecture - PhD student at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), has won a Great Places Award at the 47th annual conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) in North Carolina, USA.

Announced on the first day of the international conference, the award was given in the Place Design category for “truly exemplifying the concern for human factors in the design of the built environment, a commitment to promoting the links between design research and practice and the potential to impact school design in Bangladesh and other developing countries”.

Matluba’s PhD involves the co-design and build of outdoor learning and play space at a rural primary school in Bangladesh. Her supervisors are Dr Simon Bell and Dr Eva Silveirinha De Oliveira of the OPENspace research centre at ECA, and Dr Sarah McGeown of Moray House School of Education.

The annual Great Places Awards are a collaboration between EDRA and the global organisation, Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Chaired by John Shapiro of the Pratt Institute, this year’s jury included Kofi Boone (North Carolina State University), Jill Pable (Florida State University), Michael Mehaffy (Sustasis Foundation) and Katie Roden (Centerbrook Architects and Planners).

Building on previous success

Matluba began her PhD at ECA in September 2013 and, within a year, had won both the Overall Best Paper Award and Best Student Paper Award at the 45th EDRA conference in New Orleans.

Since then, she has gone on to win the Falling Walls Lab Edinburgh 2014, the David Willis Bequest for Postgraduate Research in the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and runners-up prizes in the 2016 ABTA Doctoral Researcher Awards (Management and Social Science category) and ECA heat of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

In February this year, Matluba was selected as the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities’ first ever Thinker in Residence at Deveron Arts, and co-organised an award-winning event for children, Play+Design=Learning, as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Innovative Learning Week.

She has presented widely, including at the annual conference of The European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS) in Porto, Portugal, and will be giving a paper at the International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS) conference in Sweden at the end of June.

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