In The Jordan TimesLocal news, a Lecture delves into archaeology of architecture and is covered relatively comprehensively for all intents and purposes. Here it is.
The image above is the main entrance of Hallabat Mosque (Photo courtesy of Ignasio Arce)
Lecture delves into archaeology of architecture
By Saeb Rawashdeh
The main entrance of Hallabat Mosque (Photo courtesy of Ignasio Arce)
AMMAN — A relatively new approach in the discipline, the archaeology of architecture was at the heart of a recent lecture held as part of the Department of Antiquities’ 100th anniversary festivities at the department’s headquarters in Amman.
Delivering the lecture, titled “Archaeology of Architecture and the Analysis of the Historical Buildings”, Professor Ignacio Arce from the German-Jordanian University said that the new approach manifests itself in not only excavation, but interpretation, restoration and conservation of archaeological sites and buildings.
Arce, who is also the head of the Spanish Archaeological Mission in Jordan, has been excavating, preserving and presenting finds to visitors of the Umayyad Palace and Medina at the Amman Citadel, Qasr Al Hallabat, Hallabat Mosque, Hammam as Sarrah, Qastal, Deir Al Kahf and Qusayr Amra over a span of a few decades.
“One of the problems that archaeologists face is the lack of written historical sources, so the only reliable source is a monument itself,” Arce said, noting that the role of a scholar is to “interrogate” and find the most reliable source for their claims.
“Inscriptions are not the most valuable proof for archaeologists because when writing people tend to lie,” he stressed, adding that “sometimes it’s better to trust the work, not the words”.
Furthermore, archaeological analysis of inscriptions can confirm whether the text is authentic or it was added later, he said.
Arce said that his goal was also to convey the knowledge produced to the local communities by creating visitor centres and site museums as well as training new generations of stone cutters, masons, architects and archaeologists in the field.
“In archaeological stratification, we have a combined series of natural and anthropic deposits,” Arce said, noting that the term archaeology of architecture was first used by Tiziano Manoni in 1990 to describe methods of gaining historical knowledge from building structures, which can eventually be used in architectural heritage conservation.
Moreover, with the archaeology of architecture methodology, integrated by research on written sources, iconographic sources and oral sources, it is possible to gain the construction history of the artefact and the knowledge of the construction technique used in its production, Arce outlined.
“Therefore, stratigraphy provides a relative dating while chrono-typology provides an absolute dating,” the professor said, adding that he implemented some of these techniques at the Amman Citadel, where he worked in 1995.
“Architectural language is like a written language,” Arce said.
The Italian government has proposed new legislation to crack down on the use of foreign languages in government, business and public life. The draft bill is particularly aimed at the use of English, which it says “demeans and mortifies” the Italian language. The proposed legislation would require employment contracts and internal regulations of overseas businesses operating in Italy to be in Italian.
Obeying such a policy would be difficult for many firms. France introduced a similar law in 1994, which has long been seen as unenforceable. Despite being in legislation for nearly 30 years, almost all multinational companies operating in France are thought to be in breach of the law.
How did it come to be this way? One clue can be found in Oxfam’s recently published inclusive language guide. The charity has attracted attention for describing English as “the language of a colonising nation”. The guide notes that “the dominance of English is one of the key issues that must be addressed in order to decolonise our ways of working”.
It is impossible to deny that the reason that English has its current status is because of historical expressions of power. The colonial expansion of the British empire between the late 16th and early 20th century led to English being spoken widely across the globe. This was often at the expense of local languages which are now endangered or wiped out as a result of the imposition of English.
The cultural and economic dominance of the US since the second world war has led to the further proliferation of English. This is particularly true among younger generations who learn English in order to consume popular culture. Additionally, global interest in business school education has meant that generations of managers have been taught the latest in business ideas and concepts. Often, these originate from the US – and are in English.
Companies who use English as their corporate language often portray it as a common sense and neutral solution to linguistic diversity in business. In reality, it is anything but.
The concept of Business English as a Lingua Franca (BELF) suggests the English used in organisations can be separated from native speakers and the grammatical rules that they impose on it. It emerged in the early 2000s, as management researchers began to investigate how organisations manage language diversity in their international operations. They discovered that although English was frequently used, it was not the same English that is spoken by native speakers.
The former CEO of Volvo, a Swedish company, once remarked that the language of his company was “bad English”. BELF encourages us to think that there is no such thing. If communication takes place successfully, and the message that you wish to transmit is understood, then you have used BELF correctly, regardless of any idiosyncrasies in grammar or spelling.
My own research has shown that although BELF can be used effectively in international environments, when native speakers of English are involved in the communication, they claim authority over how the language should be used. This can exclude those whose use of English does not meet expectations.
Clearly, organisations need to have some form of shared language to be able to effectively communicate to manage their operations. However, research suggests that there are particular benefits associated with using English, rather than something else, as a common corporate language.
English undoubtedly has great practical utility – but rather than understanding it as something neutral, it is important to understand the mechanisms of power and subjugation through which English arrived at its current status. Without reflection, it can easily be used as a tool to exclude, and continues to reproduce colonial mindsets about status and hierarchies. Its ongoing use, however practical, continues that domination.
Most curriculum designers work to a brief that is focused on knowledge transfer within the confines of a particular subject and emphasises subject-specific learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
Although curricula often include sustainability issues as discussion points, rarely does this contribute to achieving specified learning outcomes and fulfilment of assessment criteria. This dilutes the importance and effectiveness of education for sustainable development – SDG 4.7 – within a given curriculum.
Few demands are made of learners to contextualise sustainability issues in terms of the subject(s) being studied. Understandably, in a time delimited and possibly crowded curriculum focused on attaining qualifications, students and mentors will prioritise successful achievement of learning outcomes to the detriment of non-assessed education for sustainable development.
The strategies outlined here show how to embed learning outcomes linked to education for sustainable development alongside subject-knowledge learning outcomes. This achieves the twin goals of advancing SDG 4.7 while enhancing the depth of subject knowledge.
Guiding principles for embedding SDG 4.7 into curricula
Key topics such as “peace and conflict” or “global environmental change“, “social justice” and “gender equality” cannot be addressed from the perspective of a single subject. This means there is no single recipe for embedding education for sustainable development into curricula. Nevertheless, there are principles that may serve as a guiding framework.
Ensure sustainability issues are defined and discussed in local contexts, taking into account learners’ experiences and cultural identities while remaining connected with global impacts
Promote critical evaluation of sustainability issues from multiple viewpoints
Expand global and societal awareness by promoting whole-systems thinking
Encourage learner-centred research using growing subject-specific knowledge
Emphasise the interconnectedness and multivariate nature of SDG issues
Connect “issue-centric” education for sustainable development within course content and assessment frameworks.
Strategies and tools
Education for sustainable development aims to enable learners to engage with sustainability issues using the benefits of knowledge gained from all their learning experiences. The need for fully integrated curricula accommodating sustainability issues is clearly overdue. This requires a refocusing of priorities to achieve a truly multidisciplinary cross-curricular approach, in two steps:
1. Identify curriculum opportunities for embedding education for sustainable development.
2. Align education for sustainable development with core subject learning outcomes in curriculum.
Step 1: Mapping out opportunities for embedding education for sustainable development
Sustainability issues are identified as relevant themes, and the interconnectedness of their causes and impacts are aligned with relevant subject knowledge. This extends the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge into associated sustainability issues and allows for connection with relevant SDGs and enables cross-curricular multidisciplinary evaluation of the issues.
Figure 1 shows how curriculum design may take a thematic or issue-centric approach to a prescribed topic, for example genetic modification in a biology programme, to map out possibilities for matched learning outcomes to include and expand the scope of education for sustainable development within curriculum specifications.
Figure 2 provides a similar approach to pre-planning and guiding curriculum-led integration of education for sustainable development and subject knowledge. The centre column shows links between prescribed curriculum topics and education for sustainable development issues in the context of “plastics in the environment, their manufacture and disposal”. The left-hand column identifies the negative aspects of plastics manufacture and use, whereas the right-hand column takes a positive approach in terms of actions that might be taken.
Step 2: Align education for sustainable development and core subject learning outcomes in curriculum design
Learning outcomes are closely associated with assessment, and assessment is closely associated with the value placed on key aspects of the subject by educators and learners. For effective curriculum-led education for sustainable development, it is important this is closely aligned with subject-specific learning outcomes.
Different subjects make different demands of curricula and provide different opportunities. The examples here are drawn from science programmes. However, these four overarching principles underpin good practice regardless of subject matter:
• Use “issue-centric” and thematic strategies to embed education for sustainable development and general curriculum linked learning outcomes and assessment strategies
• Create opportunities within the curriculum subject material for aligning subject-specific learning outcomes with education for sustainable development learnings outcome
• Include interdisciplinary links and share learning outcomes with other subjects (curricula) in a move towards a wider integrated curriculum that assesses sustainability issues concurrently with subject knowledge
• Create opportunities within the curriculum for student-led research linking subject knowledge with education for sustainable development issues associated with matched learning outcomes.
Table 1 demonstrates how this can be done in practice.
As students become more proficient in subject knowledge, they can apply this knowledge to research the issues in the context of their subject. Ideally, fully integrated curricula with matched learning outcomes allow for a multidisciplinary understanding of sustainability problems and foster the student’s ability to research potential solutions to these without detracting from acquiring essential subject knowledge.
Ron Johnston is an independent academic and research fellow focused on education for sustainable development, who co-authored the Unesco publication “Textbooks for sustainable development – a guide to embedding”. He is a former senior lecturer at the University of South Wales and retains close links with the University of Wales.
Ethically, architects and engineers alike have been good at policing themselves to meet their client’s needs through the design process. In the UAE’s design industry predominantly of South Asian architects and engineers, an elite has emerged to respond to the built environment’s strong but slightly waning demands successfully. But why sustainability is essential to long term development in the Middle East that makes it at this conjecture, climate emergency has become not only a challenge but a goal; all had to keep in mind. The said elite is rising to meet such arduous tasks, as highlighted in this article written by Payal of Prasoon Design Studio.
Why Sustainability is Essential to Long Term Development in the Middle East
May 26, 2021
Sustainability is an essential design philosophy that influences the construction sphere within the Middle East. The implementation of green energy, eco-friendly strategies, and sustainable rating measures have significantly affected the way that the region drives development long-term. In fact, sustainability and green strategies have the power to unlock close to US$3 trillion in economic development by 2030, which is why cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are leading the way.
With rising energy demand and increased urbanisation, developers are also focusing on sustainability from a strategic perspective. Along with green materials and natural landscaping, sustainability is being driven right from the planning stage. The top architecture firms in Dubai, such as Prasoon Design, are specialising in planning the right layout, orientation, methodology, and approach to ensure long-term sustainability.
The region has historically focused on introducing new measures and guidelines to implement eco-friendlier design and construction. Using indigenous materials, new technologies, and recycled components, the Middle East’s architects are redefining the limits of sustainability. They are innovating not only on the aesthetics front but also in the longevity and ecological balance sphere as well.
Impacting Policymaking in the Region
The construction industry in the Middle East works within specific guidelines that govern its practices across residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure spheres. In terms of policymaking, sustainability is a key driver of the region’s long-term goals and vision. Saudi Arabia and UAE’s Vision 2030 includes plans to enhance renewable supply by 30%, with Dubai focusing on 75% clean energy by 2050.
Sustainability also shapes many of the policies around energy consumption, the use of new technologies, innovative materials, and novel construction practices. Sustainability is helping drive the industry forward by aiding in the formation of longevity-focused guidelines. The Pearl rating system is the ideal example of this, giving developers points for specific objectives that can be analysed and approved during development.
Promoting the Use of eco-friendly Measures
The construction industry is one of the few ecosystems worldwide that can radically transform the scope of sustainability within a region. With the industry accounting for 38% of carbon emissions, it is important to leverage the right construction methodologies and waste management strategies to ensure long-term sustainability. In fact, the construction industry has the potential to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 if it follows the right practices and guidelines for sustainable development.
The construction industry in the Middle East can lead the way in achieving the region’s targets of sustainability, energy consumption, and renewable energy use. Architecture firms Dubai and Abu Dhabi based are actively working with government entities, developers, and construction material suppliers, to ensure that new projects are aligned with the region’s overall sustainability vision.
Improving adaptability to new challenges
Many of the key challenges of the next few decades are going to be around sustainability and energy consumption. With the summer months accounting for 50-60% of energy use within buildings, it is important to design all future iterations of residential and construction projects to be self-sustaining. Whether through solar, wind, or an eco-friendly hybrid model, energy generation and utilisation would have to be optimised long-term.
The circular nature of construction means that developers need to focus on the entire lifecycle of the project. To implement truly impactful initiatives, such as zero waste, recycling, ecological balance, natural landscaping, zero emissions, and resource efficiency, developers need to be adaptable to new challenges. Developers that overcome challenges of the future in the present are also more likely to attract investment within the region for large-scale construction projects.
Innovative Materials Use within the Region
The construction industry is a highly innovative sphere within the Middle East, focusing on using the best materials that are sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, and durable. High-performance concrete, nanoparticles, cross-laminated timber, 3D graphene, and other innovative materials are shaping the way for the future of development. The region’s focus on leveraging these new materials is unmatched, with many new projects being designed keeping these high-insulating and low-maintenance materials in mind.
Additionally, innovative materials are easier to store, manage, and dispose of. They are highly sustainable by design and can be recycled or demolished without releasing toxic emissions or harmful compounds in the air. With C&D waste accounting for 70% of total waste generated in the UAE, it is important to use the right materials to ensure long-term sustainability within Middle Eastern countries.
Influencing design aesthetics through sustainability
Some of the most architecturally complex and aesthetically advanced projects are being designed in the Middle East owing to the region’s focus on sustainability. New geometries, shapes, layouts, and styles are being innovated to ensure that projects capture as much natural energy as possible. The balance between ecology and construction is also being promoted through sustainable architecture in the region as well.
From the exterior façade to the interior finishes, the use of innovative strategies is the key to sustainable development in the region. Both active and passive strategies are being leveraged to accomplish the goals of the construction project, with developers focusing on the right techniques to optimise energy management. Through key initiatives, such as rainwater harvesting, recycled materials, re-using of resources, solar, and water management, buildings are emerging both aesthetically superior and eco-friendlier.
Explore the most international universities in the world using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
January 28 2021
Most international universities in the world
Prospective students looking to study in the most international environments in the world should apply to universities in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore or the UK.
Universities, by their nature, are global institutions. Typically, they are home to communities of students and scholars from all over the world, and they tackle some of the globe’s most pressing problems through research.
This table, compiled using the international student score, international staff score, international co-authorship score and international reputation metrics collected for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, shows that the above four countries are home to the some of the most international universities in the world.
These institutions all have a high proportion of international students and staff, collaborate on research with scholars from across the world, and have a strong global reputation to match. Read the full methodology at the bottom of the page.
Research suggests that diverse communities of students improve the teaching and learning experience, while opportunities for students to spend time abroad better prepare them to become global citizens.
The University of Hong Kong has embarked on a mission to become “Asia’s global university”, which includes the goal of giving all its undergraduates two opportunities to study outside Hong Kong during their degree by 2022.
Overall, this Hong Kong university has more than 30,000 students, of which more than 35 per cent are international.
Teaching at the institution is in English and education has an international focus, with the aim of preparing students to become global citizens who could be successful anywhere in the world.
It is no surprise that Switzerland is home to some of the most international universities in the world, given its situation in the heart of Europe, surrounded by France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.
ETH Zurich is located in Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, which is known for being very safe (although expensive). The main spoken language is Swiss German, but the university also offers courses in English.
The institution has more than 22,000 students from over 120 countries and is the top university in continental Europe.
The university focuses on teaching and research in the STEM subjects, and 21 Nobel prizes have been awarded to students and teachers connected to the institution. One of the most famous alumni is Albert Einstein.
The University of Oxford is not only the top university in the world, it also happens to be one of the most international.
Over a third of students at the University of Oxford are international students coming from 160 countries and territories. In fact, international students have been attending the University of Oxford for hundreds of years, with the first international student arriving way back in 1190.
Almost half of the staff at the university are also international and the institution has links with many other institutions worldwide.
Prospective international students can listen to the university’s International Students podcast, which talks you through academic and social aspects of being at Oxford.
The data in Times Higher Education’s ranking of The World’s Most International Universities 2021 are drawn largely from the “international outlook” pillar of the THE World University Rankings 2021. This takes into account a university’s proportions of international students, international staff and journal publications with at least one international co-author. Each of these elements is given equal weighting in calculating the score for this pillar.
The table adds a fourth component, which makes up 25 per cent of the total score: a university’s international reputation. This is a measure of the proportion of votes from outside the home country that the institution achieved in THE’s annual invitation-only Academic Reputation Survey, which asks leading scholars to name the world’s best universities for teaching and research in their field.
Only institutions that received at least 100 votes in the survey were eligible for inclusion. Universities must also receive at least 50 or at least 10 per cent of available domestic votes to be ranked.
Metrics and weightings:
• 25 per cent: proportion of international staff
• 25 per cent: proportion of international students
Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
Traditional construction methods were no match for the earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday night, an engineering expert says, and the area will continue to see such devastation unless updated building techniques are adopted.
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