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UMass: Europe: Urban Sustainability Study Tour (LARP)
Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris, France; Rotterdam, Netherlands (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Break
Program Dates &
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Program Costs Spring Break
Fact Sheet:
Jack Ahern,
Who Can Apply?:
Fields of Study:
Landscape Architecture, Sustainability Studies
Language(s) of Instruction:
Program Type:
Faculty-Led, UMass Faculty-led
Minimum GPA:
Program Description:
LA 593F, 3 Credits, Spring 2016
Jack Ahern, Professor, 473 Hills South
Course meeting: Tuesdays 7-9  PM, Spring 2016 Semester
Study Tour, March 11-20, 2016 (Spring Break) 

Spring 2016 Semester SeminarThe course will meet weekly throughout the Spring 2016 semester to gain an international perspective and theory and best practices on historical and contemporary landscape architecture, urban design , and urban sustainability (sustainable transportation; pedestrianization, urban land use planning, brownfield redevelopment and park/open space planning and design). Weekly homework will include readings, individual research projects and sketching.  

Preliminary Travel ItineraryThe study tour part of the course will occur from March 11-20, 2016 with 4 days in Paris, 3 days in Amsterdam, and 1 day in Rotterdam. Each of these cities are known as international sustainable cities.  Each also has a rich history of urban design and landscape architecture.

Paris: The historic landscapes/parks/urban spaces of the “city of light” including: Jardin du Luxemborg, Tuilleries, Champs Elysée, Palais Royal, Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Canal St. Martin, Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coer Cathedral/Montmarte, and Versailles Palace gardens. Also late 20th Century parks: Parc de la LaVillette, Parc du Bercy, and Parc Andre Citroen, Promenade Plantee (precursor to NYC High Line), Place de la Republique and sustainability initiatives including VeloLib Bicycles, and urban greenway planning.
Amsterdam: The daily itinerary will include visits to Vondel Park, The Canal District, the Jordaan neighborhood, Hoofje Housing neighborhoods, the new brownfield Westergasfabriek Park, the new urban waterfronts of Borneo-Sporenburg and Ijburg.  Amsterdam is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.
Rotterdam:  The itinerary will include visit to The Schowerburgplein Square (West 8)  the Museum Park, the Kunsthall (Rem Koolhaus) and the Kop-van-Zuid district.  Planned office visit to the West 8 Design Firm, a leading international Landscape Architecture practice. 

Learning Objectives
• To learn current theory and best practices for urban sustainability in a broad international perspective informed by literature.
• To learn how specific policies and projects in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Paris demonstrate and implement sustainability principals and goals.
• To gain an integrated perspective and understanding: urban history, architecture, city planning, urban design, and landscape architecture, in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Paris.
• To develop/improve basic sketching skills to record and communicate impressions of urban spaces, landscapes and architecture and to develop and apply diagramming/analytical drawing techniques.
• To develop “21st Century International Literacy” (digital literacy, global literacy, technical literacy, visual and information literacy) through travel,  sketching, and research

Course Fees and Expenses$2250, International Programs Office Course Fee: covers hotels (2 or 3 persons per room), breakfasts, ground transportation (train, metro passes, bicycle rental, bus), and entrance fees. Note: the course fee may be decreased once the number of students is set.
$900-$1100*, Estimated Airfare: to be booked as a group fare and paid separately by students. AIRFARE is Not included in course fee above. Will depart from Boston on Friday March 11 (Arrive Paris Sat AM, March 12) and return  from Amsterdam > Boston  on March 20 (bus back to Amherst Sunday evening, March 20).
$400-$600* for meals and personal expenses.  These costs can be reduced if you are frugal.  Living costs are high in the cities we will visit.
$3550-$3950    Total Estimated Cost/student – including course fee, air-travel, and meals/personal expenses.  

Financial Aid: The IPO course fee (minus your $500 deposit) will be added to your UMass Bursars bill and will be due with your Spring 2016 tuition and fee payment (January 2016).  Students who are receiving financial aid may be able to add the trip participation amount to their student loan. Please speak with IPO for questions about financial aid.