The seminar operates as an applied course, or practicum, concerned with the planning, design, financing, and implementation of development and redevelopment projects in a city context. As such, it directly addresses issues of how to make better development in cities, - more inclusive and resilient, more appropriate to context, yet meeting the demands of the 21st century marketplace. Attention is focused on how critical development opportunities can be harnessed in the most creative means possible. This, in turn, requires real world knowledge and skills to address issues of mobility, user mix, amenity, affordability, feasibility, and acceptability in realizing complex real estate projects.
This is an interdisciplinary team-based seminar, working on selected current projects in Texas. The course is open to students in finance (MBA) (who register with the McCombs School), architecture (M.Arch and students in the fifth year of the B.Arch), planning (CRP), urban design (MSUD), landscape architecture (MLA), and sustainable design (MSSD). Other students will be considered on the basis of their background skills. Work requires a serious commitment to both independent research and team participation. Students form multidisciplinary teams focused on a real world project where motivation comes from the team, who are then guided and supported by faculty, industry professionals, and sponsoring companies. The given context will have a background of issues, development opportunities, and possibly previous potential projects. It will be the responsibility of the team to research this information, and to develop values, criteria, and strategies to steer the project. In essence, each team will produce a carefully considered solution that can be defended against a range of criteria, including: planning performance; highest standards of architecture; spatial and ecological design; financial feasibility; resource management; the quality of life for all users; long term sustainability; and implementation strategies. The teamwork will finally be assessed by a selected jury drawn from the planning and development professions.
The seminar/practicum is viewed as an ideal preparation for those intending to enter the ULI Hines Urban Design Competition in January 2018.