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Thread: Masters of real estate and development - does it make sense?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Masters of real estate and development - does it make sense?

    Hello again, thought I'd address the Urban Planning Community on some thoughts I've been having on graduate school. After some research I've been looking into obtaining a Masters of Real Estate and Development. Currently I'm a landscape architect who works on very large projects, some people would consider me a "land planner". My interest in graduate school have been mostly design oriented (i.e. urban design, architecture, urban and regional planning)... until now. The reason being, my background in design has served me well, but I'm also looking on how I can become more profitable for my company and diversify myself into more of the financial and economics behind what we do, although I don't necessarily want to be a "developer".

    From my research I have seen many programs that offer a 1 year Masters. This is very interesting, but I'd like to go into a program that is very involved in the Architecture program at the university. Any recommendations or does anyone feel this wouldn't be appropriate for what I want to do? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    What exactly do you want to do with a degree like this? MsRED's are not linked to design degrees. I knew one guy who did both real estate/development and had a design degree. I forgot if he was an architect or an landscape architect. He was basically juggling two separate jobs with little to no overlap. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. As a planner/designer I juggle both design and non-design projects (and will be going back for an MLA in a few years).

    Is your firm just looking for an edge over the competition? Are they willing to pay for you to go back to school? Most important, does your firm have work lined up (or at least contacts) in this field after you graduate? I think it would be suicide to try to start a new division up from scratch when the economy is already bad as it is, and I don't know how much things will improve in 1-1 1/2 years. Your design firm will be competing against known entities who already have experience in real estate/development.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    My company is stictly a design/planning firm, we have no developers that work with in our company. We do however work with many developers on a daily basis and I guess my interest has came about after realizing that us as designers don't have the slightest knowledge about what goes into these projects after they are off the drawing boards.

    Overall what I would like to get out of it is more knowledge of the development process so I can relate to our clients and hopefully better my position within the company and throughout my career. Hope this helps... thanks for the feedback.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    What type of planning does your design firm do? I would recommend branching out into current planning (including site plans, landscape plans, architectural plans, maybe engineering review if you have engineers on staff). As a private sector planner, I do plan review work for 9 communities (site, architecture, and/or landscape).

    Become familiar with the planning process in those communities that you do substantial design work for. Read up on the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinances. Not only will you find out what the ordinance requires but the process needed to approve projects. I would also recommend attending plan commission and city council meetings to get a feel for the appointed/elected officials. Keep in mind that two communities might have the same ordinance verbatim but they can be interpreted very differently.

    Do you have anyone in your company that is LEED-AP and/or AICP certified? Are these people planners, designers, or both? Are you an owner in your firm?
    Last edited by nrschmid; 15 Sep 2008 at 2:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    We do a lot of large scale resort and community planning. We even dip into Urban Design a bit. We are a very large company and have multiple LEED AP Staff. We unfortunately do not have any AICP Planners, although this is probably something that would be helpful.

    My thought on the masters of real estate and development is since we work with so many developers, I'd like to have some insight on the process they go through with the projects. Overall goal would be to become a better designer, but not sure if getting a masters would help with that.

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