Pratt Institute to offer first-ever degree in placemaking

As part of its new Urban Placemaking and Management degree, Pratt will offer courses on topics such as "the history and theory of public space," "open space and parks," and the "economics of place."

March 31, 2015 |
Pratt Institute to offer first-ever degree in designing public spaces

Miller's Court in Baltimore, Md. Photo: Billy Michels, courtesy Bruner Foundation Inc.

The Pratt Institute has announced plans to launch the first-ever master's program in designing public spaces through community planning. Those seeking an Urban Placemaking and Management degree will need to complete a four-semester program that focuses on the community planning process and creating public spaces, according to Fast Company

The Pratt Institute said courses will include topics such as "history and theory of public space," "open space and parks," and the "economics of place."

The program, part of Pratt's Program for Sustainable Planning and Development, will be headed by former New York City Commissioner of Design and Construction David Burney. Previously, Burney oversaw programs that included Time Square's pedestrian-friendly revitalization.

The school's announcement of the degree comes as more city officials understand the benefits of designing spaces for people by constructing large-scale pedestrian redesign projects, such as the High Line in New York.

“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,” Burney said in a statement. “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 of the urban fabric.”

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