The School of Architecture has named a new alliance of programs within its school designed to allow more cross-disciplinary teaching of environmental and urban sustainability among the school’s non-design programs.
The Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD) ties together the programs in the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE): City and Regional Planning, Environmental Systems Management, and Historic Preservation, with the graduate program in Facilities Management and the undergraduate program in Construction Management.
Through PSPD, students can take electives to cover all aspects of a single topic (such as urban agriculture), or take fundamental courses in all of the programs to gain a cross-disciplinary perspective on their area of study.
The creation of PSPD allows for cross-pollination across disciplines, with sustainable urbanism as the common denominator, and the benefits are many, says Facilities Management and Construction Management Chair Harriet Markis.
“Facilities Management is the business arm of PSPD, and this innovative, alliance allows the facilities management student a unique opportunity for enriched study in areas of real estate development, construction management, sustainability, and preservation through their choice of electives among the member departments,” says Markis.
In addition PSPD allows faculty and students from all four programs to collaborate on studio projects in the community. The programs share a speaker series. Multiple degrees can be efficiently sequenced. Joint research projects include planning for the environmental sustainability of the South Side in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and studying the economic sustainability of Long Island.
In addition, faculty and students from all four of PSPD’s graduate programs are working with the Pratt Center for Community Development on sustainable neighborhood planning throughout the region.
Finally, the creation of PSPD has allowed for the expansion of the partnership between the City and Regional Planning Program and Brooklyn Law School so PSPD graduate students can take law classes, and law students can enroll in PSPD courses.
John Shapiro, GCPE’s chair and PSPD’s coordinator says, “PSPD was formed in recognition that the biggest challenge over the next fifty years has to do with sustainability as defined by the ‘triple bottom line’ of environment, equity, and economy. Each program has a key element of that, but together we can truly innovate and better educate a new generation of practitioners.”