Situated in the Urban Studies and Planning (USP) Program, the new real estate and development (RED) major at UC San Diego is one of the most comprehensive undergraduate programs of its kind in the country. It recognizes that the next generation of real estate development innovators will need to understand the nexus between real estate finance and development, data analysis, urban planning and design, environmental regulations, global demographic trends, and new technologies. It recognizes the importance of supplementing classroom instruction with professional development opportunities and uses the San Diego-Tijuana city-region as a living laboratory for hands-on, project-based learning.
One of the outstanding features of the real estate and development major is the upper-division capstone studio requirement. In their senior year, all RED majors must complete the Capstone Studio Sequence: USP 185A in the fall, and USP 185B in the winter.Each team will prepare a final written report and presentation drawings. The studio will culminate with a public presentation of the students’ work at the USP Program’s annual Urban Expo held every March to showcase undergraduate research
Interview with Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell, Ph.D. | Urban Studies and Planning Program
Sustainability is infused into the program, preparing students with the skills and knowledge needed to take on the challenges of land use and development. Students will learn how to plan efficiently/ sustainably, taking into account transportation patterns, mixed use of land, innovation, equity and social justice, green infrastructure, and more.
UC San Diego is the first campus in the UC system to have a minor like this. In the next 5 to 10 years, we hope to be one of the top ten with this minor/major. The minor starts this year, and in fall 2018, the major will be launched.
This major/minor is beneficial for students pursuing any career path, especially those interested in sustainability. This is a great opportunity to network with people working in the local real estate area. The capstone project allows students to gain real-life experience by putting together a real estate and development plan from idea to implementation, learning about the process of design, land use and entitlements, finance, research, marketing, demographic analysis, how to bring in tenants, etc.
The program began after tracking what UC San Diego alumni were doing. It was found that over 1,000 of them were working in real estate and/ or development and had very successful careers as attorneys, developers, construction managers, etc. More students were also requesting courses on real estate and development, so a few courses were offered and they proved to be popular.
Through one of our alumni, UC San Diego was invited to compete in the prestigious NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Annual University Challenge with San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. Each team of students had to prepare a development plan (both the design and the finances) for a selected site in San Diego and in the 2nd year of the competition, UC San Diego won. The UC San Diego team was able to bring something different through what they learned from the classes now offered as part of the Real Estate and Development program. Our students had the critical thinking and ability to look at land not only from a land use perspective, but also the user’s perspective, taking into account the social, and economic issues. Last year’s competition involved the land with the old courthouse downtown where there is a large homeless problem. The UC San Diego team was the only team to address the homeless issue head-on. They reached out to social services to see if they could partner to help the homeless in the area. Through the classes offered by the Real Estate and Development program, students are able to gain these valuable skills applicable to real-life situations.