Field Studies in Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design

Minneapolis Riverfront & Medford Urban Mixed-Use Redevelopment

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.

Travel note:

The enrollment for this course is unlimited, but 10 students will be selected to participate in a Minneapolis, MN trip via the limited enrollment course lottery. Other enrolled students will participate in the Medford, MA field study. Students traveling to Minneapolis, MN will be term-billed $150 and travel September 30 – October 4. Students waitlisted in the limited enrollment course lottery will be considered for the travel spots if the initial 10 students opt out of traveling. After the lottery to determine, this course will be changed to an open enrollment lecture course.  Students may travel in only one course or studio in a given term and should refer to traveling seminar policies distributed via email.