Educating radical practitioners: A case study of regenerative design on a UK High Street

Matthew Jones, Holly Doron, Johanne Orchard-Webb, Lorna Presott, Hannah Vowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Universities have a responsibility to educate future practitioners with the knowledge, skills and attributes to achieve the shift required to create regenerative futures. Engaging students in real-world problems and thinking creatively about teaching and assessment practices is vital in developing sustainability competencies while also positively contributing to social, environmental, and economic progression and regeneration of local communities. This paper presents an analysis of a live project collaboration between Birmingham School of Architecture & Design and CoLab Dudley, a social innovation lab based on Dudley High Street, in achieving these goals. The project, exploring regenerative futures for Dudley High Street 2030, engaged students, academics, collaborators and a wider network of local people in a two-way collaborative learning process, generating new knowledge toward positive change. Using Tilbury and Mul�?s five principles of Education for Sustainable Development as a model, we analyse the collaboration to tease out the way in which the work might impact on the education of future practitioners. The research identifies a positive impact of real-life collaboration for students, academics and collaborators in nurturing the conditions for radicality and reveals the fertile conditions necessary for successful partnerships to develop. In going beyond technological solutions to consider the deep cultural changes required to achieve sustainable futures, the research reveals the potential of engaging students with real-world communities, social innovation processes, participatory partnerships and futures thinking can drive the transformation need to create radical practitioners ready to rise to the sustainability challenge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalARENA Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 17 Apr 2023


  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable Design
  • High Streets
  • Regenerative design
  • Pedagogy


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