Author: AlexKG
Amos Wright ’13 reflects on his path to UEP
| June 27, 2011 | 12:00 am | first impressions | Comments closed

The following was written by Amos Wright ’13 about his meandering path to UEP. Throughout the summer, we’re featuring posts by a few incoming students, explaining in their own words a little about what brings them to our program. The previous post was by Janet Lau. If you are an incoming student

I received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I discovered planning through the enchanting backdoor of urban and critical social theorists such as Edward Soja, Henri Lefebvre, Walter Benjamin, et al. The urban poems of Frank O’Hara were also inspirational.

In the sultry summer of 2007 I muttered some tearless valedictions to the city of my birth and drove a U-haul a thousand miles north and east. Boston revealed to me that urban centers don’t have to be asphalted acres of industrial blight gloomier than T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” During my brief employment at the Harvard Bookstore, I got my paws on an edition of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities. That gospel of urbanism was soon joined by other provocative books, in which I read how the interstate highway system was used to further the cause of racial segregation, even after it was declared unconstitutional.

Jump-cut to 2011. I’ve finished a graduate degree in English (also at UAB) and can’t get a job at Barnes & Noble. Epiphany: I have to work for a living, and academia, at least among the humanities, is slowly going extinct. I was a dilettante, the eighth cardinal sin. I was getting older, and it was time to get serious.

Eventually, I resolved to apply to urban planning programs. I interned at the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, a vast bureaucratic labyrinth of Kafkaesque dimensions, but I learned some concrete skill sets like GIS and Google Sketchup and collected field data for the city’s anemic bus system. Birmingham might be a regressive city stuck in 1963, but its urban form remains an asset. We have Vulcan, the world’s largest cast iron statue. Paris may have the Eiffel and New York the Statue of Liberty, but we’ve got Vulcan.

At present, I drink copious quantities of French pressed coffee and write on a short story collection and a novel. I also edit The White Whale Review, an electronic literary journal, and The Heaviest Corner, a blog devoted to urban issues in Birmingham. May this second graduate degree be my last one.

Joanna Hamilton ’13: Regional Planning in Northeast Ohio
| June 23, 2011 | 12:00 am | student papers | Comments closed

Joanna Hamilton ’13 is a dual-degree student with the Friedman School of Nutrition. Dual-degree students (no matter the other program) usually complete their time at Tufts in three years. For two degrees, that’s pretty good! This spring, Joanna took Justin Hollander’s Regional Planning class, which got rave reviews from most everyone who took it. Much of UEP’s focus on planning is on the urban and the local, so Justin’s class looks at the broader factors going into planning across a region. For the class final, everyone wrote a policy memo making recommendations for a real-life agency. Joanna chose the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Cleveland area. She evaluated their regional planning efforts, and made recommendations for more strategic policy in that area.

Daniel Nally ’11 and David Quinn ’12: Planning for the Bicycle in Davis Square
| June 16, 2011 | 12:00 am | student papers | Comments closed

Dan Nally ’11 and Dave Quinn ’12 did exhaustive work researching this final report for Mark Chase’s Transportation Planning class. The report presents a methodology for analyzing and prioritizing Somerville’s bicycling infrastructure needs over the next several years. It is intended to provide general recommendations for a phased approach to making physical improvements to the City of Somerville’s bicycle network based on priority zones, traffic patterns, and road dimensions. It also proposes methods to increase bicycle ridership through social marketing, education, and theft prevention strategies.

Janet Lau ’13 looks forward to UEP’s intimate atmosphere
| June 13, 2011 | 12:00 am | first impressions | Comments closed

The following was written by incoming UEP student Janet Lau. Over the summer, we’ll be featuring several blog posts from incoming students describing a little about their background as well as what excites them about UEP.

One of the most appealing aspects of UEP that attracted me was the size and intimate atmosphere here. People can really get to know and work with one another. The faculty are accessible and the classes are small, normally between ten and twenty students. This is a huge change for me, coming from an undergraduate experience at NYU Stern, where I often didn’t know my classmates’ names and doubted whether the professor recognized my face. And yet, despite its intimacy, UEP has a well-recognized program and dedicated faculty. It also didn’t hurt my decision that I received a generous scholarship from Tufts.

This fall I’m looking forward to starting a new life in Boston, being back in school mode, discovering crazy things, and meeting awesome people. I’ve been drifting the last couple of years – a year in investment banking after graduating in finance and international business, a year in Amsterdam working at a nonprofit focused on agricultural sustainability, and a year in Madrid teaching English and learning Spanish. After 2 years abroad, I’m excited to be back in the States and take advantage of all that Boston and Tufts have to offer. In particular, I look forward to exploring the function and design of city spaces and their effects within communities in both the domestic and international domains. Let’s explore together, shall we?

Mona Funiciello ’11: Urban Water Planning in China and India
| June 9, 2011 | 12:00 am | student papers | Comments closed

Mona Funiciello ’11 wrote this report for professor Weiping Wu’s new class on International Planning and Urban Policy. The class covers a broad range of topics, offering a comparative analysis of planning practices and urban policies in both developing and industrialized countries around the world. This paper addresses issues and solutions in planning for water security in the cities of China and India. For more water-related areas at UEP, you can also check out the Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) certificate program.

Weiping recently joined the department and brings expertise in migration and urban dynamics in developing countries, especially China. Weiping will be teaching the Foundations class this fall, required for all first-year students.

Alex Reisman ’11: Solutions for Last-Mile Freight in Urban Areas
| June 2, 2011 | 12:00 am | student papers | Comments closed

UEP student produce many exceptional papers every year. This is the first in a series of posts highlighting some of the best. Look for the next student paper in one week, Thursday June 9.

Alex Reisman ’11 wrote this paper on reducing the impacts of last-mile freight in the urban environment for UEP’s Transportation Planning course taught by Mark Chase. The paper provides an overview of the challenges for moving freight over its “last mile” in urban areas, and offers policy and planning solutions to improve the overall livability of urban freight.

Welcome to the new UEP Blog!
| May 28, 2011 | 12:51 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

Due to Tufts UIT’s implementation of this new blog platform, UEP has moved its blog from the old platform to this one! Many old posts have been imported, and you will see new content coming soon.