Community Outreach

The University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning is one of the few institutions in the country that houses a complete range of design, construction and planning disciplines within the same academic unit. Architecture, construction management, interior design, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, historic preservation and sustainability and the built environment teach students real-world problem solving skills and encourage active participation in communities in order to be responsible citizens.

Intelligent solutions to the problems of planning, designing and building sustainable communities emerge, as John Dewey asserts, “as a result of reflective action and experience” gained through community-based projects. These community building activities extend to our state, other states in the U.S. and even countries around the globe.

Recent Community Design, Planning and Construction projects

More than a dozen teams were tasked with establishing a vision and a road map for the Pleasant Street Historic District in Gainesville. Focusing on historic character, housing affordability, and sustainability, each group was made to conserve the historic character of the neighborhood by providing guidelines for the district rather than guiding individual parcels. Furthermore, there was a goal of maintaining aging community members within the district to provide affordable, yet comfortable, housing for new generations. Learn More.

Dr. Abhinav Alakshendra‘s Economic Development Planning course (URP6541) at the University of Florida developed a proposal for downtown Newberry, suggesting street and landscaping upgrades, a central plaza, and a railway park to revitalize the area amidst its recent population growth. Learn More.

University of Florida faculty and students will help advance the field of industrialized construction engineering with $2.5 million in strategic funding from the office of UF President Ben Sasse. Learn More.

Reflecting on the impact of urban planning on communities, the 15th Annual Ernest R. Bartley Memorial Lecture hosted by the University of Florida Department of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) featured Ashon Nesbitt, a distinguished MURP alumnus, as the keynote speaker. His insightful talk emphasized the potential of planning in revitalizing disenfranchised areas and shaping a more equitable future in Florida’s cities. Learn More.

Following the damage from Hurricane Idalia, University of Florida School of Architecture professor Charlie Hailey received word that many structures in Cedar Key designed and built as part of his architecture studios were damaged. The projects, named Earth and Sky (2016), Muir’s Rest (2017) and Drift (2018), were built to be resilient with the coastal environment in mind. Despite the best work though, they all needed repairs due to the power of Idalia. That is when Hailey sent the word out. Learn More.

Held within the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning, the Sustainability and the Built Environment Program received a 2023 Zero Energy Design Designation, the U.S. Department of Energy announced this past month. The SBE program is one of just 22 leading educational programs in the country to be awarded with the honor, which distinguishes post-secondary academic programs that teach the latest zero energy design best practices to students and require them to apply those building science concepts in projects. Learn More.

With scientists calling July the hottest month in earth’s history and warning of warmer temperatures to come, one UF researcher is working to make cities feel less scorching.  Learn More.

As a result of his tireless work and determination in the implementation of environmental conservation programs with private landowners, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning Director Dr. Tom Hoctor was honored with the Conservation Friend Award by the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA) this past month at a ceremony in Marco Island, Florida. Learn More.

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