Field Studies in Real Estate, Planning, and Urban Design

The Field Study course is designed to provide students an understanding of the dynamics and complexities of reality that create contemporary urban physical environments. The course emphasizes the integration of design and development aspects of projects that respond to realistic market demand, political, financial and other regulatory constraints – how financial implications affect planning and design and vice versa. It is intended for real estate professionals, architects, urban/landscape designers and planners, to broaden their understanding of urban development issues and public-private development problems, as well as to improve their skills in design and financial analysis. This year there will be two field studies:

Industrial Redevelopment of the Chance Vought Aircraft Plant in Dallas, TX:

The Chance Vought Aircraft Plant is the second oldest aircraft manufacturing site in the United States. It is located approximately 10 miles west of downtown Dallas in one of the best served areas of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex by highways and air. The 315 acre multi-building campus has 4.8 million square feet of space that needs to be replanned and repositioned. Students may also consider utilizing the aircraft plant runways next door. Redevelopment plans for the site will emphasize industrial economic development and how to analyze, reposition, and market an economic development zone. Students will design and brand the new campus, creating a state of the art environment for all forms of industrial, manufacturing, warehousing and other related activities.

The site’s front door is in the suburb of Grand Prairie. In addition to planning the Aircraft Plant site, students will work with the mayor and other officials of Grand Prairie to create a new mixed-use village with housing, retail, open space, and other activities at the entrance to the plant. The sponsor is the owner/developer of the plant site so the students’ work will be integral to the future planning and development of the property.

Transit-oriented development in Chelsea, MA:

Chelsea is an inner ring suburb of Boston that is located one mile away Logan International Airport and the borders the Mystic River shipping channel. It is one of Massachusetts’ densest cities and home to one of Boston’s largest immigrant communities. Students will work with the redevelopment agency, local public officials, neighborhood groups, businesses and local developers to identify opportunities for redevelopment around the four new transit stops planned for the extension of the Silver Line to Chelsea beginning 2016, in particular the new multi-modal transfer station at the terminus of the Silver Line by the Market Basket grocery store. They will investigate possible partnerships with for-profit developers for projects that combine affordable housing with market-rate housing, retail, office, recreational, and civic uses. The class will investigate prototypes and precedents for Transit-oriented development in the United States and abroad.

For both field studies, investigations will include development feasibility studies (market, physical, environmental, and political), site planning, urban design, financing analysis, public/private joint-venture structures and other critical factors affecting the planning, design and development of the project. Students will work initially on master planning for the larger area in which their sites are located. They will then select a focal area where they will produce plans, financial analyses, and implementation strategies for the initial phases of development, taking into account public space, affordable housing, retail, employment, and cultural spaces appropriate for their sites. This course exposes students to public and private development situations within the context of real-world stakeholders, clients, tenants, government officials, and financiers.