Field Studies in Real Estate, Planning, and Urban Design

This field study course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the dynamics and complexities of real-world development challenges that create contemporary urban physical environments. The course emphasizes the integration of design and financial feasibility with development aspects of projects that respond to realistic market demand and political, environmental, and other regulatory constraints—how financial implications affect planning and design, and vice versa. The course is intended for real estate professionals, architects, urban planners, urban designers, and landscape architects to broaden their understanding of urban development issues and public-private development implementation strategies, as well as to improve their skills in design and financial analysis. This year there will be two field studies: Minneapolis and Medford, Massachusetts.

In Minneapolis, students will work on redeveloping the riverfront and riverfront park at St. Anthony Falls. The park design and development will be a highly programmed urban space with trails, pedestrian bridges, parking, restaurants, and small retail. The falls are adjacent to downtown where students will also work on rethinking uses that will enliven the entire area, which includes a large soon-to-be vacated post office and other buildings with historic interest. Students will work closely with the University of Minnesota Urban Design Center and alumni who are active in Minneapolis planning and development.

In Medford, students will focus on redeveloping a large shopping center site at the intersection of Route 16 and Route 28—a transit-oriented intersection serviced by the Orange Line and visible to 200,000 cars per day. The site is close to the new casino in Everett and down the street from new mixed-use development along the Mystic River. Students will work closely with the owners of two of the shopping centers as well as the city to produce financially feasible and politically viable redevelopment plans.

Note, a limited number of students will be selected to participate in the Minneapolis field study.  via the limited enrollment course lottery. Other enrolled students will participate in the Medford field study. Students traveling to Minneapolis will be term billed $200, and are responsible for the cost of all meals and incidentals related to the trip, including any change fees related to modifications to set flight itinerary.  

Schedule: This course will meet for the first time on Tuesday, September 3rd at the regular time of 3:00-6:00.  Minneapolis lottery winners will lose their places if they fail to show up at the first class.  Everyone who is interested in the Minneapolis field study, especially those with close waitlist numbers, should attend.  The Minneapolis site visit will take place Sept 30 – Oct. 4.