Integrated multi-disciplinary approaches in higher education to future mobility and transport design practice developed through extreme scenarios

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


The complexity of contemporary society and mobility imposes the rethinking or adaptation of well-established ways of designing products and services which are no longer effective in tackling systemic and sustainability problems. Developing experiential learning in this regard is required to adopt new teaching methods and strategies in higher education to enable students’ collaboration and co-creation whilst supporting their design thinking and skills formation. The proposed paper intends to critically reflect on collaborative, research based and industry-informed integrated approaches to education through two distinct, but complementary project case studies, developed respectively at Northumbria University and the Politecnico di Milano. An analysis is provided to illustrate how students approach projects through design and innovation methods alongside their developmental skills used to deal with complexity and propose well thought-out solutions. Within Northumbria University, the well-established Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) Master programme applies design thinking and practice informed methods in a multitude of live projects with external organisations. The students from different backgrounds are required to work in teams with industry partners and other stakeholders to explore innovative approaches which help tackle societal issues or propose value opportunities. The first case study is based on an exploration project of future mobility where autonomous vehicles (AVs) are supported by artificial intelligence (AI) to gauge how they would better serve different users and respond to extreme situations. The specialising Master in Transportation and Automobile Design (TAD) at the Politecnico di Milano is a scientifically rigorous training programme that provides students with a set of advanced skills through studio-based activities in which both academic and associate tutors from the automotive field, support students throughout the ideation stages and design process. This second case study revolves around the social and ethical need to design innovative vehicles and mobility solutions specifically devised to ensure inclusion and accessibility for impaired users and adaptation in extreme environments. Both project journeys offer several key design and educational considerations to ponder on as the common practice of transport design is often behind in terms of understanding needs and issues of today’s society. After all, current industry-based technologies and development methodologies are no longer enough to enable graduates to necessarily meet the challenges of the fast-changing transport and mobility sector to secure employability.
Period27 Apr 2023
Event titleAMPS: Toronto - Applying Education in a Complex World
Event typeConference
LocationToronto, CanadaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational