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The newly launched Master of Resilient Urban Design (MRUD) degree addresses design and development thinking about how to steward change in rapidly growing metropolitan regions.  This program is founded on an issues-based, teamwork model wherein students engage issues/questions based on a design-thinking foundation and enhanced with methodoligies and proceses from multiple disciplines.

The MRUD prepares individuals to engage complex culural, market, and government policy forces through sustainable and resilient urban form.  Inclusive of sustainability and cities' abilites 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 and ennobling places now, but to ask "what if" questions about the city and urban system as a whole.

  • Innovating Urban Design Thinking

    • Clemson's Master of Resilient Urban Design (MRUD) degree addresses design and development thinking about how to steward change in rapidly growing metropolitan regions. Where will the future (and current) residents live? Where will they work, play, worship? What will be their access to food, water, civic insitutions, transit, parks? Cities are complex entities that require teamwork and trans-disciplinary thinking to achieve a resilient twenty-first centruy urbanism. This program is founded on an issues-based, teamwork model wherein students engage issues/questions based on a design-thinking foundation and enhanced with methodologies and processes from multiple disciplines.

    • The competitive advantage of the MRUD degree is four-fold:

    • A Trans-Disciplinary Program:  Bringing together architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, and preservation as well as the humanities, social and natural sciences in a spearheading configuration that exists in few places, MRUD leads in strategically positioning cities to equitably thrive during growth under climate change by using trans-disciplinary expertise and methods

    • Research-Based Design:  In order to address the needs of a growing city and its ability to provide equity in and access to housing, food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation, the MRUD degree applies research-based design thinking for tackling the growing need for innovation in how to manage change in metropolitan regions, rather than waiting to react to the urban pressures that are inevitable.

    • An Innovation Lab:  The MRUD program supports opportunities for faculty and students to pioneer research, to develop new practices, and to work closely with professionals to facilitate smart investment in the city. By using an integrated academic-professional model grounded in real world projects in order to stimulate pioneering thinking and research in the Low Country that is applicable globally, the program is an innovation lab.

    • Managing Change:  MRUD reconceives the definition (and therefore application) of resilience from the reactive and static model of “bouncing back” to a previous state of equilibrium to a more dynamic notion which includes “springing forward” and recognition that the urban environment is dynamic and in flux and that managing change is perhaps a more critical skill to be acquired that stewarding the status quo. In doing so the degree focuses less on urban resilience as a status or a goal but rather on resilient urbanism and a set of tools and practices to be applied.
  • Curriculum

    • The MRUD is a 36-credit post-professional degree for graduates and professionals with prior design skills in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regionally planning. Those outside the design professionals are encouraged to apply.

    • The three-semester program is conceptually organized in terms of physical scales (from human to neighborhood/corridor to metropolitan/regional) with themes of ecological balance and social equity running throughout. In addition, the degree emphasizes the four-part City Resilience Framework (Arup 2015), which includes health and wellbeing; infrastructure and environment; economy and society; and leadership and strategy, as these influence urban design decision-making.

    • Each of the three required semesters includes a 6-credit Urban Design Studio, a 3-credit Urban Design Seminar, and a 3-credit Visualization/Communication/Implementation practicum course. The combination of design exercises, theory, field studies, and engagement with practitioners and communities maintains a fluid dialogue between theoretical knowledge, practice, and implementation. In their final term students will write a white paper that helps them to situate their interests relative to the field. This, in combination with a portfolio, is meant to facilitate students’ transition to employment.
  • Degree Tracks and Dual Degrees

    • The typical course of study for the MRUD program is three semesters. There are two alternative paths for students without a Bachelor or Master degree in Architecture or Landscape Architecture, and for current Architecture students, which results in three semesters upon completion of the additional requirements.

    • Applicants without prior design training and skills will be required to successfully complete 12 credits of courses in Charleston during Summer term prior to the Fall start. If applicants have completed one year Master of Architecture coursework at a NAAB accredited school (to include Clemson), that work may be used to substitute for the Summer courses (subject to reveiw and approval).

    • A dual Architecture–Urban Design degree curriculum is available to approved Master of Architecture students who apply early in their MArch studies. With appropriate planning in the MArch course of study, the MRUD program can be completed in two terms instead of three.

    • Approvals for a dual MLA-MRUD or MSHP-MRUD are underway. Students interest in joint degrees with Landscape Architecture or Historic Preservation should receiving advising early. Approval for a MRUD + CommunityBUILD Graduate Certificate is also underway.

    • Refer to the Graduate School Dual Degree policy for more details. Enrollment in a dual degree track is subject to approval of the university's Graduate School.
  • Charleston: the Importance of Place

    • Urban design is about local places and the 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 urbanism. At the same time, as a growing mid-sized city, Charleston faces a number of complex urban design challenges that must balance social equity, 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, and environmental concerns.

    • It is anticipated that graduates, coming to the program from the region, across the country, and around the world, will be able to apply lessons learned in Charleston to other environmentally, socially, and historically sensitive places, to other cities around the globe.
  • The Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C)

    • Located in Charleston at the Cigar Factory (a former cigar and textile manufacturing plant, built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the MRUD degree 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. The CDC.C also houses the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CAC.C), Architecture + CommunityBUILD studios, and an Architecture + Health studio providing one or two semester options for Clemson’s degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 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 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.


MRUD Inaugural Lecture

Clemson's School of Architecture is pleased to announce the inaugural lecture for the Master of Resilient Urban Design program in Charelston, SC.  Doug Kelbaugh, FAIA is the Emil Lorch Collegiate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning and Dean Emeritus
Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning.  Click here for a printable version of the poster.