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Areas of Excellence

Community Engagement

Plans and designs have little meaning unless they represent the needs, dreams, values, and goals of those who will use them. Questions of justice in the distribution of costs and benefits and power and privilege are central to all policy and planning. Research in this theme explores the interconnections between engagement, justice, and multiple and diverse publics in policy, planning and design.

Culture, Heritage and Society

The management of cultural landscapes--from historic urban centers, to rural countrysides, to designed parks and gardens—integrates culture, nature and history, and is increasingly important in design and planning. LARP faculty from multiple disciplines have expertise in both theory and practice in the field. Their research investigates policy, planning, and design issues in the identification, interpretation, and conservation of the living heritage of cultural landscapes.

Design Exploration

Design Exploration links research and creative works within three reciprocal processes--spatial experience, design thinking, and making places--in public art, intimate gardens, neighborhoods, communities, and the cityscape. We integrate design and scholarship through award winning exhibitions, design/build projects, built landscapes, and plans.

Economic Development and Technological Change

Sustaining communities and places requires integrating new and existing modes of production in communities, landscapes, and professions. Our faculty are leaders in investigating entrepreneurship, development and redevelopment, technological change, and the reuse of industrial space to meet new social and economic needs.

Regenerative Urbanism

This theme connects emerging best practices in built form to the municipal, state, national and international policies and processes that are required to achieve them. Research addresses climate change, resilience, sustainable and low impact policy and design practices in small towns, cities, and global metropolitan regions.

Regional and Greenway Planning

Regional scale landscape planning promotes the thoughtful achievement of human and natural needs while linking edge, node and corridor across multiple scales. Regions are geophysical but also social, and defined through ecology and culture. The Department has particular strength in greenway planning and green infrastructure, and in interpreting the role of open space and communities within their regional context in the US and internationally.