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UNC Chapel Hill

ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
I just found out I've been admitted to Carolina's MRP program. Anybody know current/former students or faculty that I can get in touch with? Send a private message if you do.
 

ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
U-Penn

ChevyChaseDC said:
I just found out I've been admitted to Carolina's MRP program. Anybody know current/former students or faculty that I can get in touch with? Send a private message if you do.

I've since been admitted to Penn. I've heard good things about both Penn and UNC and I plan on visiting both over the next few weeks...Anyone care to comment on these two?
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
ChevyChaseDC said:
I've since been admitted to Penn. I've heard good things about both Penn and UNC and I plan on visiting both over the next few weeks...Anyone care to comment on these two?
Unless you get a nice aid package from Penn go to UNC. Both have excellent reputatons, but UNC in recent years has been the stronger planning program plus its cheaper. If you have to borrow big $$ to go to UPenn it's just not worth it.
 

ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
...was down in Chapel Hill last weekend for a prospective students' open house. I was extremely impressed with just about everything! The professors, the current students, the other prospectives, the New East building, UNC's campus, the city of Chapel Hill..

Barring some huge financial incentive to attend another school, which is unlikely, I'll most likely be in Chapel Hill beginning this fall.
 

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
Let me add two more schools into the mix...I'm choosing between UNC, Cornell and UW (Washington).

I'm currently a dissatisfied transportation planner (well, actually not anymore because I quit on Friday!) but my main interest lies in planning/designing/promoting/actually building environments that are more conducive to biking and walking than to driving. I also have an undergrad degree in architecture and get bored sitting in an office writing all day. Thus, the attraction to urban design.

Using the above and rambling paragraph, any suggestions? I literally change my mind every 6 hours. any help would be GREAT.
 

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
annie said:
Let me add two more schools into the mix...I'm choosing between UNC, Cornell and UW (Washington).

I'm currently a dissatisfied transportation planner (well, actually not anymore because I quit on Friday!) but my main interest lies in planning/designing/promoting/actually building environments that are more conducive to biking and walking than to driving. I also have an undergrad degree in architecture and get bored sitting in an office writing all day. Thus, the attraction to urban design.

Using the above and rambling paragraph, any suggestions? I literally change my mind every 6 hours. any help would be GREAT.
I know your pain -- I've tried to find 1 "transportation" planning program in the U.S. that would not perceive pedestrians and bicyclists as obstacles in the smooth flow of automobiles, but without much luck.
Out of the 3 schools you mentioned, for your purposes, I'd choose NC Chapel Hill; they actually have at least 1 course dealing with pedestrian/bicycling planning (I think it's a seminar that's NOT offered frequently though), and the city itself has a lot of bicyclists, bike racks on buses, positive attitude towards bikes, etc. However, the endless sprawl evident all over NC and the state's almost complete dependance on automobiles would definitely deter me from working there in the future... I heard Cornell is OK for studying planning theory, but not really for pragmatic reasons. Geographic isolation of Ithaca doesn't help either (although it is a nice small community, one of the only ones with close to 50,000 residents that is not connected to the American system of Highway "Defense" network... Bloomington, IN, is the other city I can think of...).
UW might be OK -- I think Seattle would be a great place to reside, BUT I have not found anything on the school's website mentioning bicycle/pedestrian- oriented planning. Still, the opportunities for involvement in the area would be great.

After my research, I decided that the only school that offers some qualifiable bike/pedestrian-planning coursework would be Rutgers. Well-known bicycle/pedestrian advocate John Putcher works there, and their Voorhees Inst. expanded to include RUTGERS’ PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE RESOURCE PROJECT, The New Jersey Pedestrian Task Force, and The New Jersey Bicycle Advisory Council. Check it out:
http://policy.rutgers.edu:16080/vtc/pedbike/index.html
And New York is close, with many non-profit bicycle/pedestrain organizations and the biggest Critical Mass I've seen!

Elsewhere, SUNY Albany offers a Bicycling Planning workshop, where students design bike paths to be implemented in the real world in upstate NY. Olsen, another bicycling advocate works at SUNY. SUNY Buffalo has a new professor interested in public transit/ pedestrian planning. Also, at Portand State there's a new professor really involved in bicycle planning.
If I needed to make this choice (actually, I DO need to make this choice within a next month or so myself) I'd go to either Portand State or Rutgers (partly because I would not mind living in Portalnd or New York). I hope you can make the right decision and it will work out to be the best one!

Hope this helps a bit and doesn't stir up more confusion....

Feel free to email me for more information about "transportation" bicycle/pedestrian planning.
 

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
bocian said:
I know your pain -- I've tried to find 1 "transportation" planning program in the U.S. that would not perceive pedestrians and bicyclists as obstacles in the smooth flow of automobiles, but without much luck.
Out of the 3 schools you mentioned, for your purposes, I'd choose NC Chapel Hill; they actually have at least 1 course dealing with pedestrian/bicycling planning (I think it's a seminar that's NOT offered frequently though), and the city itself has a lot of bicyclists, bike racks on buses, positive attitude towards bikes, etc. However, the endless sprawl evident all over NC and the state's almost complete dependance on automobiles would definitely deter me from working there in the future... I heard Cornell is OK for studying planning theory, but not really for pragmatic reasons. Geographic isolation of Ithaca doesn't help either (although it is a nice small community, one of the only ones with close to 50,000 residents that is not connected to the American system of Highway "Defense" network... Bloomington, IN, is the other city I can think of...).
UW might be OK -- I think Seattle would be a great place to reside, BUT I have not found anything on the school's website mentioning bicycle/pedestrian- oriented planning. Still, the opportunities for involvement in the area would be great.
Luckily, I think I'm enough of a dork that I could integrate bicycling into anything. I did my undergrad senior thesis on bicycle planning, and was literally teaching my critics about it! I showed examples of BikeStations and I'm wondering if it's a coincidence that one year later, the junior studio was to design a bike station.

After working 15 months as a transportation planner, I discovered that Landscape Architects do much of the trail planning. Therefore, I'm leaning towards UW and their urban design program. I miss the architecture studio, and my work experience taught me that I need a creative outlet - sitting in a cube and writing policy documents is not for me. And, I'll be learning urban planning in an URBAN environment! Now, if only they had decent funding...
 

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
annie said:
I'll be learning urban planning in an URBAN environment! Now, if only they had decent funding...
You could always try to live in WA state for 1 year - not a bad place to live at all - to get in-state tuition. Conversely, if you get some assistantship, your out-of-state tuition will be waived. I might try to do that myself if I go to Portland. Good luck - sounds like you're another obsessed bicyclist - there are quite a few of us here on CybForums -- including myself, riding my bike every single day of the year, rain, shine, snow, whatever...
 
Messages
17
Points
1
Unc-ch

I attended Carolina as an Undergrad and participated in the Urban Planning Minor - which consisted of some special courses and some of the regular grad school courses. I loved the program. The professors are generally great - knowledgable in their field and supportive of the students. As a University on the whole, and in the Planning program as well, the is a focus on public service - this plays out in seminars and team projects around NC.

About the Bike/Walk question - Based on my somewhat limited exposure to the department, I would consider it "friendly" to bike/walk/transit policy. Of special note, the School of Public Health and Planning Department are involved in major research about the link between unwalkable suburbs and obesity so their might be potential to get involved if you are interested.
 

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
forget what I said about Washington above, UNC gave me a FANTASTIC aid package, and I'll be going there! If I want to do design later, I can always get a 1-year certificate.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
annie said:
forget what I said about Washington above, UNC gave me a FANTASTIC aid package, and I'll be going there! If I want to do design later, I can always get a 1-year certificate.
Take the money are run to UNC! NC State has an architecture program and you can register for courses at NCS while enrolled at UNC.
 
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