Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Tokyo City University (TCU) International Workshop 2023 is a joint workshop organised by the Landscape Architecture Programme, Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying (FBES), UTM and the Faculty of Urban Life Studies, TCU. The two-day workshop was held from 28th February to 1st March 2023. This is the third physical workshop executed since 2018. It was the continuation of the Sakura Science programme, participated by ten (10) Landscape Architecture students at Tokyo City University (TCU), Setagaya campus, Tokyo, from 3rd to 8th December 2022. This workshop is coordinated by Dr Lee Yoke Lai and assisted by Dr Teoh Mei Yee. Landscape Architecture students had spent almost two months planning and preparing for the workshop.
UTM-TCU workshop exposes students to explore sustainable urban development and respond to recent urban issues after the post-pandemic. This workshop’s main focus case study area is in Johor Bahru city centre. Likewise, the purposes of this workshop depicted students to landscape architecture studies from different experiential learning dimensions through field visits and outdoor education excursions, with both countries’ student participation. On the other hand, this international workshop has contented to UTM Graduate Attributes, enabling students to enhance their generic and core skills, a correlation between global citizenship, basic research skills, leadership, and interpersonal skills. The dynamic workshop organisation is devoted to global learning exchange and strengthening international networking primarily to support the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) commitment for both partner universities.
The first day of this workshop began with introducing both universities’ backgrounds. The main agenda of the seminar embraces input lectures from industry: think city and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). A case study and project-sharing revealed Johor Bahru imposed urban regeneration projects, Segget river redevelopment, walkability in urban city design, and transit-oriented development (TOD) planning. These essential inputs and discussions emphasised Johor Bahru’s city development pursuing a sustainable, livable and low-carbon city development authorise the integration of applied environmental, social and economic aspects. Next, all workshop participants continued with the Downtown Johor Bahru Urban trail led by Ts. Dr Noor Aimran Shamsuddin. Urban trail exploration has given all participants a greater understanding of Johor Bahru’s cultural identity. In a nutshell, Johor Bahru’s expansion encloses a robust cultural and social dimension through legitimate, genuine tangible and intangible heritage. Subsequently, all delegates were divided into small groups to discover Johor Bahru’s gastronomic gem and experience the night cityscape.
On the second day of the workshop, the event was conducted with the cultural acquaintance for all workshop delegates to gain insight into Johor Bahru’s historical developments. All participants visited the Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum, the narration of Johor Bahru’s social history and economic growth began with the cultivation of pepper and gambier plantations transformed into the capital and administration of Johor state. Moreover, this international workshop brought an experience to handmade local handicrafts and artworks at Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation or JARO. JARO is an evocative cultural experience to see hand-woven rattan baskets and furniture, bookbinding, and batik products by disabled people. The last part of the workshop is imparting cultural heritage knowledge at Johor Heritage Foundation and engaging with culture, custom and belief by avocating diversities of traditional architectural Malay House (Rumah Limas), local cuisines, traditional clothes, woven fabric, and traditional dance. Hence, the diversity of Johor culture imbues a sense of distinctiveness and nurtures the values of cultural awareness in TCU delegates.
At the end of the workshop, a closing ceremony and appreciation were dedicated to all workshop participants. Professor Sr Dr Kherun Nita Ali, dean of the Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying, delivered closing remarks. This joint workshop has created an excellent opportunity for UTM students to expose valuable mobility experiences and practical implications to built environment studies. Indeed, this student mobility program provides international networking to enhance academic and research collaboration platforms. All participants received the certificate of appreciation and gift exchanged during the farewell session. This workshop closed with fruitful and insightful reflection, turning various experiences into learning and memory. The hearties’ appreciation for all parties’ involvement sincerely supported making UTM and TCU International workshop 2023 successful.