Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Taking New Ideas to the Old School

I hope to bring the planning community some news ways of seeing communities and the people who live there.

I’m really excited to announce what many people already know: I will be joining the Master of Urban and Environmental Studies program at the University of Virginia this fall. It’s a two-year program. Meantime I will work the next marathon in a limited capacity, while concentrating primarily on my studies.

While I am there, I plan to focus improving the front end of the planning process through community discovery (which so often falls woefully short) through the arts and bringing a focus on improvements in well-being, which includes a host of under-appreciated aspects such as access to heritage, spiritual exploration, fresh air and exercise, healthy foods, opportunities for expression and engagement with neighbors.

These are topics familiar to readers of this blog. So it’s really the perfect extension of the work I’m doing. I’m going deeper by learning more, by contributing to a wider discussion with unique perspectives I’ve gathered and—not insignificantly—obtaining an accreditation that will help realize some of the ideas we’ve discussed together here.

The program is located within the highly-rated Architecture School, and although I am opting out of the studio component, that creative problem-solving approach is very appealing. I’m looking forward to joining a field that is undergoing some profound growth and change—there’s tons of new research and new ways of looking at society and it’s problems. It’s an interesting moment and I think my life experiences and artist’s perspective will help me make positive contributions.

I plan to continue the blog and it will be interesting to see how it changes. I think it will be a good way to connect theories I learn and outside cases with the realities of my own community. We’ll see how it goes; meantime the full text of my statement of intent is pasted below.

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