Short Term Practicum: Urban Planning


Lead Instructor: Mike Lydon ’04

MikeonBikeCourse Overview: This practicum introduces a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to city building that considers current issues of transportation, land use, equity, urban design, public health, sociology, and technology. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply basic tools that are fundamental to urban planning, including analysis, project metric development and mapping.  The class will undertake an examination of leading sustainable town- and city-making practices throughout the nation and world. This examination will form the foundation for designing and implementing a physical pilot project aimed at improving local street design and public space.

Concentration and Major/minor information: GEC credit for The City in History: Urbanism and Constructed Spaces (C057) and Environment, Place, History (C068). Major credit: Sociology.

Class Meetings:
Week 1: MWF: 4/27 9-3; 4/29 TBD; 5/1 8-2 in Brunswick
Week 2: WThF: 5/6 9-1; 5/7 9-1; 5/8 9-1
Week 3: TWTh: 5/12 9-1; 5/13 9-1; 5/13 9-1
Week 4: WTh: 5/20 9-4 (work day for Build Maine installation) and 5:30-7 public meeting for ATRC Complete Streets Project); 5/21 9-4 (Build Maine Conference/project observation in Lewiston)
Week 5: TWTh: 5/26 9-1; 5/27 9-1; 5/28 9-1
(A degree of flexibility is necessary with Practitioner-Taught Courses due to the additional professional responsibilities of the practitioner.)

Learning Goals:

  1. Understand how the history of urban planning practice in the United States created much of today’s built form and geo-spatial arrangements;
  2. Comprehend how issues of transportation, land use, and public space shape our cities and lives today;
  3. Obtain an understanding of the breadth of the urban planning field, including discovering the roles non-profit advocacy organizations, municipal governments, and consultants play in shaping the American city.
  4. Develop basic skills to analyze urban planning challenges, as well as opportunities, in Lewiston-Auburn;
  5. Develop creative, short-term project pilot project responses and analysis tools for identified challenges and selected opportunity sites; and
  6. Make “Complete Streets” planning recommendations for a real project in Lewiston-Auburn led by the instructor’s consulting firm.

Biographies of  Instructors:

Mike Lydon – The Street Plans Collaborative – Brooklyn, NY
Mike Lydon is a Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. As an internationally recognized planner, writer, and advocate for livable cities, his work has been featured by NPR, The New York Times, CNN Headline News, The Atlantic Cities, Planetizen, Grist, Utne Reader, Salon, Next City, Architect Magazine, and Streetsblog, among other publications.

Mike collaborated with Andres Duany and Jeff Speck in writing The Smart Growth Manual, published by McGraw-Hill in 2009 and honored by Planetizen as one of the top ten planning books of 2010. Mike is also the creator and primary author of the The Open Streets Project and Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change Vol.1 and Vol.2. Mike edited and co-developed the recently published Mercado: Lessons from 20 Markets across South America and is currently writing a full-length book about Tactical Urbanism with
Tony Garcia, to be published by Island Press in the spring of 2015.

A founding member of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), a Board Member for CNU New York, and a steering committee member of the Next Generation of New Urbanists, he remains active in both local and national planning, design, and smart growth advocacy issues. He also speaks internationally on the topics of smart growth, livable cities, tactical urbanism, planning and social media, and complete streets/active transportation. Before launching the firm in 2009, Lydon worked for Smart Growth Vermont, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Ann Arbor’s GetDowntown Program. From 2006 – 2009 Lydon worked for Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company (DPZ), an international leader in the practice of smart growth planning, design, and research techniques. At DPZ Mike worked extensively on Miami 21, the recipient of the American Planning Association’s 2011 National Planning Excellence Award, and contributed to several other research and project initiatives. Mike was selected in 2009 as one of 34 Urban Vanguards by Next City magazine.

Mike currently serves on an Executive Committee for The Harbor Ring, is an advisor to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and sits on the Board of the Center for a New American Dream.

Mike received a B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Mike is a CNUAccredited
Professional and he encourages you to trade four wheels for two.

Confirmed Supporting Lecturers (~ 1 per week)
Tony Garcia – The Street Plans Collaborative – Miami, FL
Anthony Garcia is Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. Prior to launching the firm’s Miami office, Anthony was Project Director for six years at Chael Cooper & Associates Architects. His work there gave him a strong has a background of urban planning that includes urban design, policy writing and code analysis. He has experience in hosting public meetings, and has completed a number of bicycle and pedestrian plans at the scale of city, neighborhood, and campus and contributed to the codes and policies that help shape the resulting spaces.

Between 2008-2012 he was the managing editor and publisher of, a web journal dedicated to public participation and discourse in South Florida. He is also an active Board member of the Green Mobility Network, a Miami-based organization that advocates for greater use of active transportation throughout the region. He is a member of the Dade Heritage Trust, and a member of the Florida Chapter of the Congress of the New Urbansim.

Tony graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Urban Planning and Architecture Studies, with a concentration in community development and participation in the planning process, and the use of technology in garnering public support. He went on to get his Masters in Architecture from the University Of Miami School Of Architecture and is working toward becoming a registered architect in the State of Florida. Currently, he is also serving as adjunct faculty at the University of Miami School of Architecture, teaching second year studio, and the New Urbanism Online Course.

While at the University of Miami he was one of a handful of students invited to the Rome Program, an intensive six month program of study into the history of traditional urbanism and architecture. Most recently he was one of a select few regional participants in the LEED-Homes pilot program, where his work on a historic South Miami cottage led to a Gold rating and a Dade Heritage Trust Award for excellence in preservation.

Russell Preston – Principle Group – Boston, MA
Russell Preston is founder of Principle Group, a planning, design and development firm focused on creating authentic places. He has worked as a placemaker and urbanist since 1999 on a variety of public and private projects throughout the United States. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, and the University of Miami master’s program in architecture and urban design. Preston is a contributor to Tactical Urbanism and an editor of “Living Urbanism”, a publication on contemporary urban design and city building. He currently serves as a Commissioner of Boston’s Air Pollution Control Commission, on the board of directors of the Congress for the New Urbanism, as President of the CNU New England chapter and on the board of directors for Boston’s South End Washington Gateway Main Street. Prior to founding Principle Group, Preston worked with Cornish Associates on the redevelopment of Downcity, Providence and Mashpee Commons, a mixed-use neighborhood on Cape Cod. In 2010 he received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession from the University of Miami. Preston is also a working artist and illustrator.

Kara Wilbur – Principle Group – Portland, ME
Based in Portland, Maine, Kara formerly directed TPUDC’s New England Office before joining Principle Group. She is a town planner and urban designer with more than 10 years of experience in planning, permitting, urban design, and real estate development. She has been involved in transportation projects across the country, including design development for roadway improvements; drafting transportation elements for Comprehensive Plans; and assisting with connectivity plans at the municipal level. She began her design career with Dover Kohl and Partners. In addition to being an outstanding planner, Kara has a special expertise in studying and clarifying the character of the places in which we are

Dan Bartman – City of Somerville – Somerville, MA
Dan is a Senior Planner with the City of Somerville. Dan has incredible expertise in neighborhood-based planning techniques, zoning, and creative placemaking projects.

Nancy Grant – Bike Coalition of Maine – Portland, ME
Nancy is the Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a statewide member-based advocacy group based in Portland, Maine.

David Hediger – Planning Director – Lewiston, ME
David is the Planning Director in the City of Lewiston, where he has worked for more than a decade, handling all manners of planning and development.