Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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FSU Urban Planning Lab Wins Fifth Project Award

August 28, 2017

The college’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) has won the annual Outstanding Student Project Award from the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association. It is the fifth time the department has received the honor.

The award was presented for the St. Johns County Passive Park and Recreation Master Plan Enhancement, an applied project undertaken in the spring 2017 semester by the Florida Planning and Development Lab (FPDL), the department’s graduate-level studio, which gives students the opportunity to work on planning projects for real-world clients.

The FPDL studio team was hired by St. Johns County, Florida, to provide professional planning services to enhance the county’s Parks and Recreation master plan in order to protect the area’s abundance of natural and historic assets that have served as the basis of a thriving tourism industry.

The student team, under the direction of then Planner-in-Residence Lindsay Stevens and Senior Planner Jeremy Crute, was given two major tasks: 1) to develop and implement public input tools in the form of an online survey and an open house to engage the community and 2) to identify the needs and desires of residents and visitors to St. Johns County and how the passive park system could better meet these needs.

Utilizing an extensive public engagement process and level-of-service analysis, the student team identified strategies and recommendations for meeting the recreation needs of underserved areas and developing connections between existing parks and trails.

“Protecting and enhancing these assets is essential to the future growth of the local economy and to maintaining residents’ quality of life,” Crute said. “Ultimately, this project supplied St. Johns County with a toolkit to update its Parks and Recreation master plan and to capitalize on the significant ecotourism opportunities provided by its natural and historical assets.”

The award recognizes the work done by the team of graduate students: Christopher Bratton, Jacqueline Bucheck, Lindsay Cohn, Shane Cordileone, Kathleen Downey, Justin Guy, Hannah King, Michael Sherman, Justin Stiell, Michelle Teller, Sara Thomas, Ying Yang, Tianzhou Ye and Jiayu Zhang.

FPDL has won five Outstanding Student Project Awards in the past six years, including a study on autonomous vehicles (aka “robot cars”) and their potential impact on transportation and land use and another on housing options for graduate students within the FSU campus and the greater Tallahassee community.

FPDL operates much the same as a professional consulting firm, annually securing applied project work and internship opportunities for DURP students. Once under contract, planning projects are typically staffed through a capstone studio course by graduate students in their final year of study.

This year’s project award will be recognized during the Plenary Session at the Annual APA Florida Conference in Daytona Beach, September 6.

For more info about FPDL, visit this link.