Choosing the Master’s Project

Starting a Master’s Programme without a final project in mind can be very stressful but because of choosing to follow the Design for Services Master’s Programme (MDes for Services)  at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) I’ve got the opportunity to discover step by step which is my main interest through the insightful modules.
At the beginning of the Master’s Programme I had a study module called : Design Research where one of the deliverable was about the Mobility and Accessibility of Edinburgh city and the research consisted into a short trip to Edinburgh in order to observe the city and identify the problems of mobility. This project was inspiring as well as the city itself and determined me to be interested into Mobility and Accessibility in cities and to take into consideration a future Master’s project regarding this subject.

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Further on, few days before Christmas the class had the chance to meet their possible clients and the future projects through the Challenge Bank where we been introduced to a project called Keeping Graduates Green, a challenge from MRC McLean Hazel company which reflected my initial topic for the Master’s Project.

The following is the brief for the challenge:

Once formed, travel habits are difficult to break.  This is why we want to ensure the right travel habits are formed in the first place! Transition points in our lives (moving house, having kids, retiring) are key moments when new habits will be formed.  Our challenge focuses on the transition when individuals leaving university or college, and find their first job.  Whilst studying, many students have low budgets and relatively few travel requirements meaning they will walk, cycle and use public transport more than many other demographic groups.  Also, many cities and universities have well developed sustainable transport strategies which may include reduced price public transport fares for students.  Incentives like this, however, are rarely available once individuals start to work.  Once students graduate and enter paid employment these travel choices can quickly become a distant memory – owning a car is suddenly much more appealing and feasible if incomes are high enough.

Having said this, young peoples’ attitudes towards cars and driving do seem to be changing.  Some researchers believe that the car has lost its ‘cool appeal’ amongst certain groups of young people.  Others think that virtual connectivity is replacing the need for physical connectivity.  The rise of car sharing schemes (City Car Club or Zipcar for instance) is also reflecting the changing attitudes towards car ownership – perhaps the next generation of graduates will be content with sharing, instead of owning, a car.

The Challenge

Within this project you will work alongside staff at MRCMH (a transport consultancy based in Edinburgh) to develop a programme or service that focuses on keeping graduates’ travel choices sustainable.  This may be developed in to a website, or a scheme that public transport operators could promote.  The questions we may need to consider are:

  • What is important to young professionals in their day-to-day lives?
  • What influences their travel choices?
  • How can we encourage their use of public transport, walking or cycling and discourage their decision to buy a car?
  • Will car sharing be an appealing prospect for this generation?

Group of Young Graduates Throwing Their Hats in the Air

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