A new RMIT postgraduate degree – the Master of Disaster, Design and Development (MoDDD) – has been officially launched in Europe.
Marked by an event at the University’s European hub in Barcelona, Spain, the program was launched by RMIT Europe Executive Director, Marta Fernandez, and Chief of the Urban Risk Reduction Unit for UN-Habitat, Dan Lewis.
The MoDDD, which fosters critical skills in design-led disaster recovery, will be taught both from RMIT in Barcelona and Melbourne, Australia.
The degree explores how design can be used as a strategic tool to help resolve complex global challenges including poverty, natural disasters and climate change.
Informed by industry during its development, the MoDDD’s key partners include the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and UN-Habitat.
These relationships mean students will engage with the people directly responsible for the aftermath of disaster and the development of housing, shelter and settlement solutions, according to Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth, Director of the Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau (HARB) at RMIT.
“Students will work on solutions for real-world scenarios such as addressing the housing needed from the influx of refugees in Europe, working in areas of severe economic disadvantage, as well as identifying sustainable reconstruction approaches following natural disasters,” Charlesworth said.
“The intensive seminars in Barcelona and Melbourne won’t be about sitting in a classroom for four days – it’s real work with multidisciplinary teams across sites of environmental and economic risk.”
Students will also experience the benefits from the dual locations in terms of proximity to industry partners, such as UN agencies, major private donor agencies as well as other leading universities when in Europe.
“Some of the European universities we’ve partnered with include the School of Architecture at UIC Barcelona in Spain as well as Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom,” Charlesworth said.
She expects the first intake, beginning in July 2016, to be a diverse group.
“Since the program’s launch in Europe, we’ve had interest from human rights lawyers in Sweden, journalists in the USA, engineers in Germany and architects in Spain,” Charlesworth said.
“It’s the first time there’s a direct pathway for people in the design or built environment fields who have been wanting to get into the humanitarian or development sectors.”
Dan Lewis, Chief of the Urban Risk Reduction Unit for UN-Habitat, praised the innovation and timeliness of the MoDDD for disaster recovery and development.
“The program introduces a new way of leveraging the power of humanitarian capital,” Lewis said.
“It’s a different and radical way of thinking in the world of built environment and design.”
Prior to the launch event at RMIT Europe in Barcelona, a symposium was run in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UIC Barcelona titled Designing for a Fragile Planet.
Keynote speakers included design professionals who have led recent reconstruction programs from Haiti to Nepal including Eric Cesal (Architecture for Humanity) and Brett Moore (World Vision and Harvard University).
Success Begins Here: Study the Master of Disaster, Design and Development in 2016. Find out more about your study options at the Art, Design and Architecture Midyear Expo.