PPPM Launches the ‘Sustainable Communities and the Public Good’ Academic Residential Community

February 11, 2021

photo of students biking in EuropePPPM students biking in Europe for a study abroad program

The School of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) has launched its first Academic Residential Community (ARC): The Sustainable Communities and the Public Good ARC. ARCs are programs designed to help students find a community based around shared interests and passions for inquiry.

PPPM Professor Marc Schlossberg says the ARC will be an excellent, accessible entry point for students looking to enter the planning, nonprofit, or policy fields, whether their interest lies in climate change, transportation, food scarcity, housing affordability, structural inequality, or other areas. At the heart PPPM is not just studying problems but finding ways to apply solutions in the real world.

“We want students to build community and have agency while they are students. So many of our students have grown up in a crap world and they don’t want to wait to make change,” said Schlossberg, who will direct the ARC. “We need to create opportunities for them to make a difference now and connect with their colleagues who are similarly committed to making a difference.”

“If you want to make the world better,
getting our cities right is fundamental.”

Many PPPM students discover they want to pursue a PPPM degree later in their undergraduate career, Schlossberg explained, and they wished they had an earlier introduction. The ARC will provide that earlier opportunity, while students will have the opportunity to pursue other aligned degrees as well.

In the fall, Schlossberg will teach one of the required ARC classes, PPPM 205: Introduction to City Planning, a favorite of his to teach.

“I really love the class because I have this ability to orient students to higher education and their position in society as being an active participant in helping make change happen,” he said. “If you want to make the world better, getting our cities right is fundamental.”

ARC students will also take a seminar and an Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector.

The interdisciplinary focus of the ARC—Sustainable Communities and the Public Good—is a framing that connects the myriad aspects of planning, public policy and management. Schlossberg says that the ARC will ground the community in a meaningful way, beyond the theoretical, and he hopes to pair activities such as group bike-share rides to visit city administrators with curriculum about bike infrastructure and affordable housing.

The ARC, which will host about 35 students, will open in a new residence hall in the fall of 2021. Incoming students have the option of applying to the PPPM ARC as part of their on-campus housing decision.