Foundation in Place for Master Builder Class


Dr. J. Terrence Farris, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, taught CAAR 414/614 Real Estate "Master Builder" Development Process for the first time this past Maymester with thirteen students-two practicing architects and one builder, four graduate city planners and a graduate civil engineer, three undergrad architects, and an undergraduate landscape architect and a construction science management student.

This intensive, two-week course was an introduction to the real estate and land development process from the developer's perspective. The course focused on the total development process (from project conception to asset management) encouraging future and existing development entrepreneurs to understand how the development process operates in order to produce exciting, quality projects respecting environmental sustainability, social consciousness, design excellence, and financial feasibility within the risk-reward framework. Case studies and lectures were presented by leading experts in the development industry, with active class participation. Eight guest speakers presented key aspects of the development process.

In addition to guiding and synthesizing the topics of the guest speakers, Dr. Farris focused especially on the development process, members of the development team and their roles, market and feasibility analysis, the planning process and the regulatory environment, and public-private partnership processes and tools. The textbook was the Urban Land Institute's Real Estate Development: Principles and Process.

Dr. Farris joined the faculty in August 1994 after seventeen years of market research, planning, and development experience as consultant, homebuilder, and public development administrator in St. Louis and a five year academic career at Washington University, Michigan State, and Clemson. He worked in more than 40 cities and 9 states for more than $1.5 billion development and is a specialist in public-private partnerships, redevelopment, and market research. Dr. Farris received the MUP at Michigan State in 1974 and received the Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State this past May. He also teaches planning process and administration, housing and community development, land use law and growth management, and economic development.

The course received high marks especially regarding the inclusion of guest speakers focusing on specific cases and the breadth of the topics covered. A key objective that was achieved included having an interdisciplinary class with practitioners involved in the development process. The course has evolved from Dean James F. Barker's encouragement of interdisciplinary education and his initiatives to pursue a "Master Builder" program for the college. The class will be offered in the future during the regular semesters.