In Christine Cousineau’s Green Urban Design class, the final project involved working with a group on a real-life design project. Several weeks ago we featured a project on a site in Union Square. Another group worked on the site where The Burren is located in Davis Square. The site is intended for redevelopment by the owners, so this project is relevant and timely. Such projects are common at UEP, with even the smallest assignments often geared toward a real-life audience. While the Field Projects core course is entirely based around this concept, applicability pervades most other classes as well.
“Cities in Space, Place, and Time” is one of the core classes in UEP. While students can take this class during the fall of either year, many first-year students taking the course in 2010 found it to be a fantastic complement to the Foundations course required of all students during the first semester. In Cities, you learn a lot about the history of planning and policy that influences the current environment. One assignment that is especially educational is the book review assignment, where you work with a small group to review a significant book in the field. My group reviewed The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, a seminal work in the planning field. Rachel Gordon ’12, Sophia Burks ’12, and Melissa Woods ’12 read and reviewed Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, which explores the Great Migration. The Great Migration is the half-century of mass movement of black Americans from the South to the cities of the North and West. This is just one of the fascinating topics of social history that Cities will teach you.
Jay Monty ’11 came into UEP with an educational and work background as an engineer. He had worked on highways, and transportation remained a strong interest throughout his time at Tufts. While at UEP, he also worked as the TA for two of the core classes (Cities and Field Projects), which introduced him to many members of the class below his.
This spring, Jay took the new Qualitative Skills class taught by Justin Hollander. For his final paper, he examined what factors shape the mix of businesses in the modern “urban village”, and whether or not it is possible to expect a diversity of goods and services found in traditional urban settings. His conclusions are fascinating for those interested in economic development and the vitality of new urban neighborhoods.
Clara Feng is a certificate student in the certificate program in Program Evaluation that UEP participates in along with the Department of Child Development, the School of Nutrition, and the School of Medicine For more information about program evaluation, you can talk to UEP faculty member Fran Jacobs.
In this paper for Justin Hollander’s Qualitative Skills class this spring, Clara studied a Brazilian grocery store in Union Square in Somerville. She was interested in the role of such businesses in multi-ethnic community of Somerville, including who their customers were, how customers perceived the store, and what sorts of goods are provided. Her paper was also part of Project PERIS, a community-university partnership in which UEP participates.
For those who are interested in the more design-oriented areas of urban planning, UEP offers two courses taught by Christine Cousineau, who also works in Harvard’s campus planning office. At the end of her classes, students complete a group project working on the design of a particular site in the Greater Boston area. One project this spring proposed a mixed-use development for a site in Somerville’s Union Square, at 346 Somerville Ave. The team, which included Nick Welch ’13 and several other Tufts students, studied the five parcels on the site and produced a report whose recommendations integrate affordable housing, a mix of commercial and residential uses, and green design principles.
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.
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.
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.
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.