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:

Innovation District and New Community Development on Goose Island, Chicago.
Goose Island is a 160 acre manmade island at the junction of the north and south branches of the Chicago River less than a mile from Chicago’s CBD and Lincoln Park. The island has existing industrial uses and some popular breweries and restaurants. The field study assignment is to envision a new mixed-use community on the island with a focus on innovation and high tech industry. The goal is to build a new focal point for Chicago’s high tech industries against the backdrop of an exciting residential and retail community catering to Millennials and other demographic groups.

Waterfront, TOD, and Entertainment Redevelopment in Revere, Massachusetts.
Revere is an inner ring suburb of Boston and its closest beachfront. Historically it was the primary destination for beachgoers who enjoyed its 3 mile strand and Coney Island-style amusement park. It recently lost the bid for Boston’s casino, but its potential for redevelopment is among the highest in the Boston area. Heavily impacted by sea-level rise as well as being home to many immigrants, Revere presents many opportunities as well as challenges. Students will select from a number of fascinating sites including the waterfront, Wonderland Amusement Park, Necco Factory, Bell Circle, TOD development around the proposed commuter station, downtown, and Suffolk Downs to produce proposals for redevelopment.

For both field studies, investigations will include development feasibility studies (market, physical, environmental, and political), site planning, urban design, financial 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, environmental, cultural spaces, and wetland, and sea-level rise conditions 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.