I handed in the first TMA for TD223 (International Development) last night. I’m not happy with it quality-wise but there comes a time when you just get tired and send anything just to have the damn thing off your hands. The dreaded road development theme reared its head after I thought I’d left it behind at TMA03 for DD101 last year. The TMA also took the form of a series of mini essays instead of a full essay or report. Given that this is the first presentation of this course, there were bound to be a few complications and, lo and behold, an incorrect date in the course materials ( the date on which Detroit’s first freeway was built) meant a lot of last minute confusion on the forums regarding the order of historical events and some rewriting on my part that I could have done without. Also, for a slightly less urgent niggle, some people said they had been cautioned for using American spelling in their Dummy TMAs but the course materials are riddled with American spellings! That said, I’ve actually started to enjoy studying TD223, particularly the example of Detroit as a city that has reached the low point of a boom and bust cycle. I even started to accept the dreaded road building aspect when I realised that it tied into my interests in urban design. The ‘Big Three’ car companies (Ford, GM, Chrysler) pushed through the development of freeways in Detroit at the expense of established neighbourhoods (which were bulldozed) and the public transport system (which was shut down). This left people reliant on individualised transportation to get anywhere and is one of the reasons the city is so spread out and impractical. Once I figured out how to make this course relevant to my interests I saw it as more relevant to my Environmental Studies degree, which is a relief because for the first few weeks of the course I had seriously been considering dropping it and starting again with U116 in February. I’ll take a few days now to draw, relax and read something that isn’t a textbook on development theory, then it’ll be onto Block 2 on Saturday. Till next time!