Category Archives: Innovative Places

Ørestad Gymnasium: School without Classrooms (Part 2)_A case for ‘Educational Urbanism’

What makes Ørestad Gymnasium even more interesting is the larger rationale behind it. It has to be seen within the context of the socio-economic transformation that Denmark is undergoing and also within the urban context of Ørestad, a showpiece of Nordic urban innovation.  Education plays a central role on this urban arena.

The idea behind the new large-scale urban development in Copenhagen, is to catalyse the transformation of the Danish economy from industry-based to knowledge-based economy (will write later more about the so called “knowledge-based urban development”). It’s part of the bi-national economic zone created with Malmö in Sweden. The cities are  connected with the fabulous Øresund Bridge.

On a strip of 600m x 5 km, and an area of 310 ha, Ørestad will have three million indoor square metres; house 20 000 inhabit­ants; provide 60 000 jobs and offer education to 20,000 students. The strong presence of education in Ørestad is deliberate . The Ørestad Gymnasium, the IT-University, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation DBC, an beautiful student’s hostel, the University of Copenhagen, Apple and others work together in close cooperation in the development process (‘Triple Helix’).

Picture 29

There is intense spatial closeness between the media industry, education and business organizations on the strip – not to forget cool housing! The awesome IT-University specializing in multimedia is just one stop away from the Ørestad Gymnasium (with the driverless sky-train). And hardly three walking minutes away from the IT-University is another awesome building – the Danish Broadcasting Corporation DBC  built by Jean Nouvel. The students of the IT-University get job offers at the DBC while still at school … also, some companies have their seats at the top floor of the university. This is where students can make their first encounter with the professional world, easing the school to employment transition.

The DBC building comprises four large buildings and a public concert house (build by Jean Nouvel), which houses a world-class recording studio in its basement. Together with the film-cluster mushrooming around the Danish film director Lars van Trier, Copenhagen is ambitiously positioning itself as a world ‘Media-City’ – much to the joy of the students.

All of this makes it a case for my argument on educational urbanism’ – urban development where educational planning converges with urban planning…

Lots of info on its official website:

http://www.orestad.dk/da-DK.aspx?sc_lang=en

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ørestad

Website of the IT University:

http://www.itu.dk/en/Om-IT-Universitetet/Grundprincipper

Doha – WISE:World Innovation Summit for Education. December 7-10; 2010

Two weeks ago, one of the most important international conferences on education took place (for the second time) in Doha, the capital of Qatar, a country now widely known for it’s winning the bid for Soccer World Cup in 2022, and less known for its enormously ambitious educational development program. The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, led by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is the organization spearheading this ambitious program. Its flagship product is the ‘Education City’, a campus comprising six (!) universities including Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Carnegie Mellon and others. Qatar is surely one of the places where innovation in education is taking place in a very thoughtful way.

Looking into the website of WISE surprises you not only with an excellent collection of videos of keynote highlights from the conference but also a collection of films made by their ‘Learning World Channel’ that show short films like on Finnish Schools or on the international winning projects prized by the Summit. The summit is not a one-time thing, its becoming a platform. Very enjoyable and informative!