Course of Human Environment Design

Course of Human Environment Design Course Chair, Professor Maiko Sugawara

Producing Designs for Living Environment, Community Planning and Products with User Centered Design Approach


Message from the Course Chair

Cultivating professionals able to produce designs for living environments, community planning and products with user centered design approach.

The Course of Human Environment Design comprises the following three courses: 1) Architectural & Environmental Design, 2) Tools & Devices Design, and 3) Products & Information Design. The Course aims at cultivating professionals able to identify and comprehensively analyze problems in current designs for living environments, community planning and products to produce better ones with user centered and universal design approach. The Course aims to do this by helping students acquire both an in-depth understanding of each of its specialized areas of study and a multidisciplinary perspective incorporating disciplines of other related academic fields.

Faced with various issues including a super-aging population, a decrease in the number of children, and regional disparities, in order for Japan to sustainably continue to develop, it needs sustainable designs that take both the current and the future states of its living environments and manufacturing into consideration. The Course of Human Environment Design cultivates professionals who can respond to society’s needs for better designs for its living environments, community planning and products. In order for everyone including the elderly, children, and the physically challenged to lead fulfilling everyday lives, all things including living environments, products, and information need to be designed based on a complete understanding of the states of the relevant persons’ minds and bodies and ways of living. In addition, since the existing disparities in living environments, etc., between center cities and local cities continue to increase, design proposals for community planning need to be based on an understanding of the characteristics of each of the nation’s communities. In other words, design proposals for environments and products need to be developed in ways that respond to needs accurately identified from both a bird’s-eye view of society, as well as communities, and from a close-up view of the characteristics of all people. In order to respond to the need for the above types of design proposals to be formulated, the Course therefore offers an interdisciplinary curriculum comprising a variety of academic fields of expertise including architecture, life-supporting engineering, product design, and housing studies.

The Master’s Program assists students in enhancing their specialized knowledge and acquiring comprehensive interdisciplinary perspectives by offering lectures and seminars designed to help them acquire special expertise, skills, and competence for resolving practical issues. It also offers opportunities to engage in educational and research projects coordinated in collaboration with organizations including companies, governments, and citizen activity associations and provides students with assistance in either organizing their findings into a Master’s Degree Thesis or Project, through which students will be able to review the specialized training they receive. Furthermore, in order to respond to the needs of students planning a career in architecture, the Program’s curriculum includes an internship program (Project on International Collaborative Research), periods of participation in which will be counted toward the number of years of practical experience applicants for the 1st class registered architects Kenchikushi (qualified architect and building engineer in Japan) examination are required to have. The Master’s Program aims to cultivate people who, on completing the Program, will be ready with the highly specialized skills needed to perform various works in organizations including the following: 1) design offices in architecture firms, product design companies, and other companies; 2) assistive technology development departments in public research institutes; 3) medical and healthcare facilities; and 4) administrative divisions.

The Doctoral Program’s lecture and seminar programs are designed to support students obtain their doctoral degrees under the guidance of multiple instructors who will assist students in becoming able to conduct research on their own, acquiring the expertise and research skills needed for engaging in highly specialized works, and recognizing and observing professional ethics. The Program aims to cultivate students who, on completing the Program, will be ready to serve in the following roles: 1) researchers at universities or other research institutes; 2) projects consultants; 3) coordinators of collaborative programs between different industries as well as various companies; and 4) professionals who can plan, develop, and lead projects aimed at designing infrastructure needed for a  society with a rapidly declining number of children and a super-aging population. In other words, it aims to cultivate people able to offer various solutions to social issues by proposing and producing designs using highly specialized expertise. We sincerely look forward to welcoming enthusiastic students keenly aware of the social issues underlying contemporary society.

Summary and additional details on the Course

The Course of Human Environment Design offers three courses: 1) Architectural & Environmental Design course, 2) Tools & Devices Design, and 3) Products & Information Design. It promotes the importance of collaboration between diverse specialized fields based on human-centered design and universal design are its fundamental principles. The Course always keeps its eyes open for what is happening outside the academic world and aims at offering graduate education multidimensionally with its curriculum incorporating programs including international projects and industry-academia-government collaborative projects.

Admission Capacity: 10 students (Master’s Program) / 4 students (Doctoral Program)
Lecture Times: Day time
Campus: Akabanedai
Degree: Master’s Program—Master of Human Environment Design
  Doctoral Program—Doctor of Human Environment Design

Faculty Members of the Course of Human Environment Design (in Japanese)