Master of Resilient Urban Design program now accepting applicants

The Clemson Design Center is located in the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street in Charleston. The former cigar and textile manufacturing plant, built in 1881, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two-thirds of all growth takes place in cities because, by simple fact of population density, our urban spaces are perfect innovation labs. The modern metropolis is jam-packed. People are living atop one another; their ideas are as well. — Peter Diamandis

CHARLESTON — Clemson’s new Master of Resilient Urban Design (MRUD) was developed in response to the increasing need for professionals who can address the complexities of city development through a multi-disciplinary approach. Classes for the post-professional degree will begin in fall 2018 at the Clemson Design Center in Charleston, one of the School of Architecture’s Fluid CampusesApplications are now being accepted.

With half of the world’s population living in urbanized areas, today’s urban designers need to understand how to manage growing metropolitan areas in a way that helps sustain diverse environments, cultures and economies while being able to anticipate and recover from challenges.

“Today’s generation will experience a globe that is two-thirds urbanized in their lifetime and that development will create a new set of challenges,” said B.D. Wortham-Galvin, director of MRUD. “This program is designed to help respond to those challenges by preparing the urban designers of tomorrow so they can take an active and thoughtful approach to how people will live, work and play in cities.”

By addressing design and development questions, the three-semester MRUD program will prepare students to steward change and address complex problems that impact individuals in cities nationwide. Students will work alongside a group of trans-disciplinary faculty and practitioners and participate in research-based design and labs.

The program’s locale also plays an important role in students’ learning opportunities. With its unique combination of history, culture, tourism and an expanding economic base, metropolitan growth and a sensitive coastal location, Charleston is a world-class, living-learning-urban laboratory for examining contemporary urban design issues.

“We developed this program with the mission of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities in mind – to prepare talent for the evolving economy, help drive innovation and serve the public good,” said Kate Schwennsen, director of the School of Architecture. “Graduates coming to the program from the region, across the country and around the world will be able to apply critical lessons learned in Charleston about resilient urban form to other environmentally and historically sensitive places.”

As part of their research, students will partner with professionals and organizations to help address the needs of a growing Charleston and its ability to provide equity in and access to housing, food and water, energy, education, health care, revenue-generating activities and affordable transportation.

Enrolled students will be required to take a six-credit urban design studio, a three-credit urban design seminar and a three-credit practicum course each semester. This combination of design, theory, field studies and engagement with practitioners and communities maintains a dialogue between theoretical knowledge, practice and implementation. In their final term, students are required to write a white paper.

Applicants without prior design training and skills will be required to successfully complete 12 credits in Charleston during the summer term prior to the start of the fall semester. If applicants have completed one year of the Master of Architecture coursework at an NAAB-accredited school, that coursework may be used as a substitute for the summer courses (subject to review and approval). A dual architecture-urban design degree is also available.

The deadline for priority consideration is Jan. 15, 2018. All applications must be in by March 15.