Sustainable communities are the future of urban development, and on Commencement Day 2012, Rollins President Duncan presented diplomas to 19 Holt School graduates who are well prepared to plan and design those communities. They are the first class of the Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism program—directed by Professor of Environmental Studies Bruce Stephenson—and they now have the cutting-edge knowledge and skills for government or private-practice careers in urban planning. Graduates Alexandra Winsler ’08 ’12MPCU and Zachary Starkey ’10 ’12MPCU already have obtained employment in the field.
“The program is hands-on,” Stephenson said. “Over the last half-year, MPCU students have worked with Orange County staff to plan a Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) Neighborhood Center adjacent to the proposed SunRail Station at Meadow Woods.”
When the MPCU program was founded two years ago by Dr. Stephenson and Richard Fogelson, Rollins’ George and Harriet Cornell Professor of Politics, its goals and curriculum were clearly pointed toward the future. New Urban News noted that Rollins “is joining the small number of academic institutions that teach urban panning and design with an emphasis on the ideas consistent with New Urbanism.”
Through seminar classes as well as studio projects, MPCU students learn to create spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, mixed-use, walkable, transit-oriented, green, and, above all, sustainable. Offered a choice of two specializations—Place Making and Green Infrastructure—they are taught by national-level experts as well as local practitioners with advanced degrees and teaching experience. “The MPCU is planning to continue working with clients to improve the quality of urbanism in Central Florida,” Stephenson said of future classes. “The professional quality of the student design studio project is helping accelerate the shift to a more sustaining and resilient economy.”
By Renée Anduze