Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism-- Application Deadline July 1

June 21, 2010

If you look back at the 1883 plans for downtown Winter Park and Rollins College, you’ll find that the community was designed for walkability. Since then, design has changed to become more vehicle-centric.  However, as the region continues to expand, the key to successful and sustainable growth will be placing the future population in more densely built, transit-oriented and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

 Read more about Stephenson and Foglesong HERE

That’s why veteran Rollins professors Bruce Stephenson, professor of environmental studies, and Richard Foglesong, professor of politics, have spearheaded a new master’s program to focus on the art and economics of urbanism. Slated to launch in fall 2010, the school’s Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism is a two-year, 12-course degree offered through Rollins’ Evening Program, the Hamilton Holt School. The program will focus on walkable communities, mixed-use development, public transit and green infrastructure.

“Our new—and very timely—graduate program in civic urbanism is grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to Rollins’ principles of responsible leadership and global citizenship,” said Rollins president Lewis Duncan.

“The so-called ‘new’ urbanism is actually reminiscent of the past,” said Stephenson. “The humanistic elements of the Renaissance period and the urban planning ideals of the pre-automobile era are now the inspiration for today’s designs.”

The Rollins College campus provides the ideal venue to explore this new trend in planning, with its historic design inspired by the Renaissance model. Other faculty members who will teach courses include psychology professors Paul Harris and John Houston, political science professors Mike Gunter and Tom Lairson, and art professor Rachel Simmons.

A unique aspect of the program is that it focuses on the artistic side of urbanism –teaching how to draw sustainable communities. Courses will also examine the political side of the puzzle.

rachel“Before establishing the program, we conducted focus groups as part of a feasibility study,” said Foglesong.

All of the local developers, planners and consultants who participated gave enthusiastic feedback about the program.
“However, participants lamented the fact that students don’t understand real estate economics or the political process in taking projects from conception to completion,” added Foglesong. “So, in addition to inspiring students in the art of urbanism, we’ll also provide a reality check in terms of what it takes to get projects approved and make theory a reality.”

“This master’s degree is very much needed in our community,” said Brian Canin, owner of Canin & Associates, an urban planning and architecture firm. “With commuter and high-speed rail on the horizon, we need planners to design walkable communities and get away from automobile-centric design. We must train a new legion of professionals in these skill sets.”

Canin will be among several local professionals serving as adjunct professors and/or guest lecturers in the program. Others adjunct faculty include Gregg Logan, managing director of RCLCO and president of the local Urban Land Institute chapter, and Chris Sinclair, president of Renaissance Planning Group. Opportunities for off-site studio projects and internships at local agencies will also be available to students. Partnerships with Vero Beach’s historical “Miracle Mile” district and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation have also been established.

An informative session for interested students will be held on April 28 at 6 p.m. in the Bieberbach/Reed Conference Room of the Cornell Campus Center at Rollins College. For more information, call 407-646-2232 or visit


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