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Pratt Institute to Launch the First Urban Placemaking Program in the Country

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    Articles Articles Apr 27, 2015 09:16 AM EDT

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    A press release from Pratt Institute earlier this month announced that its architecture school will be launching a new graduate program. By fall 2015, Pratt will be opening its doors to graduate students for Urban Placemaking and Management, which will be the first of its kind in the country.

    The program, which is a part of Pratt's Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD) will be composed of four semesters with a total of 40 credits. The institute is expecting a diverse student body with backgrounds in architecture, design and planning.

    The program is aimed to provide professionals with “tools to work in a range of institutional, governmental, nonprofit and private sector settings”. The program will be coordinated by former NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney Graduates of this course will gain a Master of Science degree.

    Burney’s achievements as the city’s chief architect throughout his 10-year tenure include the Design and Construction Excellence program. This helped improved the quality of NYC’s public spaces, such as its streets, plazas, museums, firehouses and libraries, among others.

    In a statement, Burney said, “In the past 10 to 12 years there has been a paradigm shift in thinking about planning and urbanism, from a primary focus on buildings to a focus on the spaces between buildings-public space.” He added, “Rather than allowing these spaces to be formed as an afterthought of building design, placemaking sees the creation of successful public spaces as the starting point, which in turn dictates the siting and design of other components in the urban fabric.”

    Students of this program can also take elective courses within the PSPD department including Sustainable Environmental Systems, City and Regional Planning, Historic Preservation and Facilities Management.

    PSPD Chairperson John Shapiro said, “ The Urban Placemaking and Management program will change the way that people plan, making placemaking intrinsic to the way that the public realm is envisioned, regulated and managed.”

    The ArtsBeat feature in the New York Times named the program’s faculty which will include Signe Nielsen, the president of the New York City Public Design Commission; Meg Walker, the VP and director of design at Project for Public Spaces; and architect Jonathan Marvel.

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