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  • Locations: Johns Town, Jamaica
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Restrictions: Drexel applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Class Eligibility: Graduate, Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior, Sophomore Type of Program: Intensive Course Abroad
Program Description:
Program Overview | Academics | Program Calendar | Program Fee | More Information

Fall Break in Jamaica:
Anti-Colonial Methods for World Building 
Jamaica Scene

Program Overview

At the invitation of, and guidance from, a permaculture-based community development non-profit and a farmers collective located in  Jamaica, this studio will test concepts of real-world building with anti-colonization methods and climate resilient building in emerging communities. The studio will examine in real world situations building and land conservation at the intersection of culture, sustainable development, anti-colonization principles and community interaction and communications.Jamaica Build

The main objectives will focus on supporting the revitalization of the Jamaican built environment which has been largely erased during the last 600 years or so through the imposition of various colonial cultural practices that exploited the land, and its natural, human, and physical resources. Contributing to the anti-colonization methods is the general understanding that an entirely new system of eco-development is being defined. This method has as its foundation, the anti-colonization premise of sharing knowledge rather than keeping it restricted and by asking a community for design and program elements through need-minded discussions rather than imposing an outside program onto the community.

This studio requires the collaboration and alliance between self-governing communities, and indigenous resources and is focused on the preservation of Jamaican cultural heritage in all its forms, including architecture that evolved in response to its unique environment. It will also provide an opportunity to co-create a new, sustainable ecologically based economic model. There is a sense amongst the Jamaican parish community that pride in the land and the care of it, is palpable. Collaboration with Jamaican design students will occur with Drexel University design students and include a parallel studio and virtual invitations to presentations for sharing of cultures and interests.

Learning objectives include:Jamaica Build
• Develop an environmental site map including topography, analyzing water run-off and collection areas, understand wind and weather patterns, soil typologies, and earthquake faults, fire patterns, and hurricane patterns.
• Understand what climate resilient building means through case studies.
• Develop a need-mined building program and identify tourist elements incorporating permaculture practices and climate resilient information.
• Locate a new building structure, help determine the floor height of the building, its orientation and connection to other buildings on the site and to entrances and exits of the property.
• Design all new buildings, including exterior auxiliary spaces, interior spaces for post-production product development and tourism program.
• Ideate on building using local materials and post-harvest product packaging.
• Design site development approaches and farmers market and distribution center building location based on site analysis with need mined information.
• Ideate on Branding possibilities for the farmers market products and distribution center.
• Ideate on Branding possibilities for a soft sell parish wide environmental awareness program with the Parish planning department and crisis management department (who also provides all environmental programs for the schools)

Please note: while this program is currently accepting applications, it is still in moving through the Drexel program approval process due to elevated risk travel review. This is standard Drexel procedure. Programs without full approval may not run. 


Students will be registered for INTR T480 / T680 for 4 credits during the Fall Term. Students must leave room for  credits when registering for fall term or will be billed for credits exceeding the 20 credit maximum. Part time and graduate students will be billed at their normal tuition rate for 4 credits. 

Instructor: Jeanne Scandura, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism

Program Calendar

Arrival Date: September 9, 2024Jamaica Build
Departure Date: September 18, 2024

Itinerary Overview 

Pre-Travel 1-hour travel orientation meeting and 3-hour subject introduction, expectations, history and travel supplies

Day 1 Introductions – Instructors, Staff, Classroom locations etc. Tour of Source Farm Ecovillage and farm and Guango Wild Garden (GWG) Conservancy Limited’s organic research station. Obtain general specification for steel span buildings. Meet with farmer-clients, assign 1-2 students with design lead responsibility for each site. Begin Sketch Book – Everyday during the trip, you will work on the development of a notebook which captures: - Observations – Enhanced by photographic records - History - Social permaculture and Community Design - Ecology and Ecosystems Sketch time

Day 2 Methods of Design and Building Biological Economics Development of Client interview questions Farm site visits (Twisting Creek, Ital Farm and White Hall Farm) - Conduct Client interviews to determine special/environmental needs for production and other activities in the steel framed building. Sketch time

Day 3 Map Reading, Site analysis and production of maps to mark elevations, soils, water, existing buildings, vegetations types (forested, crop, pastures, drives etc.). Waste Management/Treatment (e.g. Effluent, Organic Matter, Plastic Orange River Research Station Record notes Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

Day 4 Tour University of Technology (UTECH) – meet Faculty of the Built Environment Meet Utech design students and partners Sketch time

Day 5 Travel – Ujima Natural and Organic Farmers Market Free time

Day 6 Travel – Water supply research – Reach Falls; Durga’s Den

Day 7 Site Visits to remaining farms under Grant. Conduct Client interviews to determine special/environmental needs for production and other activities in the Steel frame building. Sketch time

Day 8 Sketch time and possible site visits for further documentation

Day 9 Return to Philadelphia

Upon return to Philadelphia, you will have met the farmer-clients you will be working with for the term and be paired in groups of 1-2 Drexel Students with 1-2 UTECH students. You will have site plans for the farms and the steel frame building provided by the grant program. Through your farmer-client interviews, you will have a program with a list of needs and design challenges that each farm is encountering in their daily operations. You will also have discussed the tourism goals for each of your farmers.

Program Fee - $2,770

Due May 1, 2024 - $500 Advance Payment + $25 application fee
Due July 1, 2024 - $2,270 Final Payment
*All payments are non-refundable unless declined admission.

Included in Program Fee:

  • Accommodation
  • Local transport
  • Meals 
  • All activities. tours, and visits
  • On Call medical and emergency insurance

Not Included in Program Fee (Estimated):

  • Round trip airfare $800Jamaica Build Group
  • US airport transfer $60
  • Spending money $200
  • Passport $165
  • Visa (if applicable)
  • Books / Supplies $50
  • Part time / graduate normal tuition
ICA Financial Aid: Students may request an Adjusted Cost of Attendance by submitting the ICA program fee and estimated out of pocket expenses listed above to Drexel Central (via askdrexel). Doing so could make students’ eligible for additional financial aid.  Students may also be eligible to apply for Drexel's ICA Scholarships.

More Information

  • Visa: US citizens are not required to obtain a visa for Jamaica. Other nationalities must check the embassy website for visa requirements. 
  • A recommended flight itinerary will be provided. Students are responsible for booking their own airfare.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2024 05/01/2024 05/15/2024 09/09/2024 09/18/2024