Empowering graduates to become community builders and placemakers. Pushing traditional design forward by making it more culturally diverse, socially inclusive, sustainable, and beautiful. Learn the lessons of Charleston, for the benefit of the world.
The Master of Arts in Community Planning, Policy, and Design (CPAD) degree program addresses the many dimensions of community building. It is the only urban design program in the United States that was founded with social justice and equality as core values. Its innovative curriculum is designed to empower graduates to develop "progressive traditional" urban design skills while gaining knowledge of public policy, real estate economics, and practical transportation/land-use planning expressly. The focus of the program is on the growing intersection of these skills and knowledge in today’s vibrant and increasingly complex development environment. CPAD is jointly housed in the College of Charleston's Riley Center for Livable Communities and the Historic Preservation and Community Planning program.
The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston proudly offers a unique urban design MA degree program in Community Planning, Policy, and Design (CPAD). It is innovative in many ways. First, CPAD blends architecture and urban design studio courses with classes in public policy, infrastructure planning, architectural history, and real estate. This interdisciplinary curriculum empowers graduates to succeed as skilled practitioners in today’s complex development field. They become valuable contributors to any given development company, city government, or design firm precisely because they are capable of serving any and all of the above. In short, CPAD graduates are trained to speak the language of the law, know the realities of business, and wield the design skills needed to create and enhance inclusive, sustainable, beautiful places.
Progressively Beautiful, Beautifully Progressive
The placemaking skills of our students are strengthened by the second unique feature of the CPAD program: its “progressive traditional” design ethos. Most design schools around the world teach modern architecture; a few tolerate classicism, but only a handful actively promotes traditional design. CPAD is counted among the latter, but with a unique and important twist: our students are taught to understand and appreciate traditional design from a global, pluralistic perspective. They know how to draw upon the specific forms and details of local sites, but they are also capable of thoughtfully engaging with any and all traditions when crafting architecture and urbanism to serve diverse populations. Furthermore, our students are encouraged to engage with modern ideas, materials, and aesthetic innovations, to aid them in their quest to make places that are beautiful by classical standards but successful and sustainable by any standard.