This fall, the Pratt Institute will introduce a new master’s program in designing public spaces through community planning. The “Urban Placemaking and Management” degree, within the institute’s architecture school, will be led by former New York City commissioner of design and construction David Burney, who oversaw programs like the city’s initiative to give Times Square a pedestrian-friendly makeover.
The four-semester program will be the first in the country to focus on community planning processes and creating great public places, according to the school. Courses include topics like “history and theory of public space,” “open space and parks,” and the “economics of place.”
The degree comes at a good time for aspiring urban planners who want to focus on community-driven designs for parks, plazas, and more. Cities have begun to recognize the benefits of redesigning urban spaces for people, whether it’s through large-scale pedestrian redesign projects from within the administration like the Times Square initiative, which involved shutting down traffic-clogged streets to make room for planters and cafe tables, or community-led initiatives like pop-up urban design kits in L.A..