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Name: Jack Becker

MAUD 2013
Hometown: Highland Park, IL
Undergraduate school/major: Cornell University, B. Arch

What was your work experience/background before coming to the GSD?:
Five summer internships and working as a freelance graphic designer for seven years

Why did you decide to pursue urban design as a career?
The scope of architecture is too often confined to the limits of the envelope without a meaningful coordination with collective (urban) aspirations. At its best, urban design affords the opportunity to orchestrate, if not define, this coordination. Moreover, urban design as it practiced today too often neglects any higher purpose beyond politically correct, consumer-friendly models (new urbanism, etc). The ability of urban design to transcend these limitations (autonomy of some kind) is something I believe exists that our culture is badly wanting.

What made you decide to come to the GSD?
The quality of the faculty and, in turn, the quality of the students we can work and grow alongside. The GSD also exists within the larger institution of Harvard, which is full of rich, diverse resources. MIT is right around the corner and the Boston area is young and exciting.

What was your impression of Harvard and the GSD before you came?

Serious, professionally minded.

How has your impression changed since coming to the GSD?

While some of my preconceptions were true, there is certainly a segment that bucks this trend. 

Are you involved in any student groups? What have you gained from the experience?
I play for the club tennis team, which has put me into contact with many people outside of the GSD. I am also on Student Forum (External Relations), through which I’ve acquired not only a better sense of the GSD but also Harvard’s many other graduate schools. 

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