Stephenson and Foglesong Help Launch New Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism

April 30, 2010

At first glance, you may not think that the study of environmental issues and politics have a lot in common. Not so, asserts Rollins’ Bruce Stephenson, professor of environmental studies and Richard Foglesong, professor of politics.

As long-time colleagues and friends, the two found it “serendipitous” that they were able to bring their unique expertise together to help found the new Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism program at Rollins College.

two“I’m very excited to work with Bruce on this new program and possibly leave a legacy,” said Foglesong.

The 26-year veteran professor has taught American and urban politics and policy since 1984. He has also taught in the graduate school of architecture and urban planning at UCLA. And 25 years ago, he published Planning the Capitalist City, which discusses the history of American urban planning. The book is still required reading in most urban planning courses throughout the country.

“My background is predominately as a political scientist,” said Foglesong. “So with this new master’s program, I’ve come back full circle to my roots in urban planning.”

Stephenson’s background is similar: He has been an environmentalist, public planner and consultant. Growing up on Florida’s coast in the 1970s, he was inspired to pursue a life of environmental action after witnessing the St. Johns River’s devastating drought and subsequent dry burning. One of his first jobs was working with Pinellas County to help protect its water supply, and this became the basis for his book Visions of Eden, analyzing the origins and evolution of city planning in Florida.. For the past five years, he has partnered with the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation on a landscape restoration project for the Genius Reserve, a 50-acre parcel of “Old Florida” located in the heart of Winter Park.

“People are taught the importance of protecting natural space,” said Stephenson. “But it’s also important to understand the human landscape element to this and how we can live sustainably.”

Both men, along with other Rollins professors and urban planners, hope to educate students about the sustainable and political side of civic urbanism.

“It’s one thing to draw a sustainable plan, which is very important,” added Stephenson, “but there’s a whole other angle to learn about the political process involved in getting the plan actually passed.”

After an in-depth feasibility study, Foglesong said that local urban business leaders and consultants were very enthusiastic about the new program.

“We learned that Rollins is, indeed, the right place, it’s the right time and we have the right approach to provide the knowledge and skills for cutting-edge professionals who will be working in urban planning,” added Foglesong.

To learn more about the Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism program visit

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