The Master of Resilient Urban Design degree (MRUD) is a post-professional degree for graduates and professionals with prior design skills in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, or other disciplines focused on natural resources or the urban condition. The MRUD prepares individuals to engage complex cultural, market, and government policy forces through sustainable and resilient urban form. Inclusive of sustainability and cities’ abilities to help sustain diverse environments, cultures, and economies locally and globally, resiliency also implies the ability of a community to anticipate and recover from challenges. As such the MRUD program seeks to envision not only humane, equitable, and ennobling places now, but to ask “what if” questions about the city and urban system as a whole.
Urban design is about local place-making and the historic City of Charleston is an extraordinary place for studying place and urban form. As one of America’s oldest cities with a unique and well-preserved historic core, it is a globally important example of walkable, pre-automobile urbanism.
At the same time, as a growing mid-sized city, Charleston faces a number of complex urban design challenges that must balance historic preservation, environmental sensitivity and fragility, transportation, economic development, and investments in managing growth and change. With its unique combination of history, culture, tourism and expanding economic base, metropolitan growth, and sensitive coastal location, Charleston is a world-class living-learning-urban laboratory for examining contemporary urban design issues through a comprehensive approach to historical, cultural, social, economic, environmental, and equity concerns.
Graduates coming to the program from the region, across the country, and around the world, are able to apply lessons learned in Charleston to other environmentally and historically sensitive places, including their hometowns and other cities around the globe.
Facilities and Allied Programs: The Clemson Design Center in Charleston
Located at 701 East Bay Street in Charleston, in the Cigar Factory, a former cigar and textile manufacturing plant, built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the MRUD program is part of the Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C). The CDC.C provides studio space, classrooms, seminar rooms, fabrication facilities, a laboratory, library, multipurpose space, and faculty and staff offices for the MRUD and other related programs, including the Master of Science in Historic Preservation; visiting Master of Architecture, Master of Architecture + Health, and BA in Architecture studios as part of our Fluid Campus; and Bachelor and Master of Landscape Architecture studios, for programs otherwise based in Clemson. These disciplines, independently and in collaboration, are regularly and actively engaged in service learning and research on local, “real world” issues, with strong relationships with local governments, other academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and industry. The MRUD program builds on the work of the urban design-focused “Studio U” and local relationships established with the founding of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston in 1988. Today, the combination of urban design, architecture, historic preservation, and landscape architecture in this location establishes Clemson University as a premier provider of allied academic and research offerings in design and building in the Southeast.
Students Without Prior Design Training
Applicants without prior design training are strongly encouraged to apply. If admitted, those students would be required to complete a 4-credit summer course prior to matriculation in the Fall.
The three-semester Master of Resilient Urban Design program is conceptually organized around multiple physical scales (block/street/building, neighborhood/district/corridor, and the ecological/regional/metropolitan scale) and how the form of the city intertwines with socio-economic, cultural, and natural systems.
Each of the three required semesters includes a six-credit Urban Design Studio, a three-credit Urban Design Theory course, and a three-credit Visualization/Communication/Implementation practicum course. The combination of design exercises, theory, field studies, and engagement with practitioners and communities maintains a fluid dialog between theoretical knowledge, practice, and implementation. Throughout the plan of study, coursework emphasizes the four-part City Resilience Framework (http://www.cityresilienceindex.org/ Arup 2015), which includes health and wellbeing; infrastructure and environment; economy and society; and leadership and strategy, as these influence urban design decision-making.
The typical course of study for the MRUD program is three semesters. There are alternative paths for students without a bachelors or masters degree in Architecture or Landscape Architecture (that require an additional term).
Students may receive concurrent graduate degrees in Architecture-Resilient Urban Design or Landscape Architecture-Resilient Urban design. In order to receive concurrent graduate degrees you must apply to both programs and be accepted by both programs (Architecture or Landscape Architecture and Resilient Urban Design). Enrollment in a dual degree track is subject to approval of the university’s Graduate School. Refer to the Graduate School Dual Degree policy at http://www.clemson.edu/graduate/files/pdfs/gs_policy_handbook.pdf for more details.