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Faculty Spotlight: Lizz Plater-Zyberk

By Lizz Plater-Zyberk

Faculty Spotlight: Lizz Plater-Zyberk

By Lizz Plater-Zyberk
Get to know Lizz Plater-Zyberk and why she is passionate about urban design in this faculty spotlight!

My name is Elizabeth (Lizz) Plater-Zyberk, and I am the director of the Master of Urban Design Program and the Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor of Architecture.

Urban design is my passion. Let me tell you why.

Urban design addresses the form and function of the built environment, i.e., the buildings and public spaces that you enjoy (or not) on a daily basis. I say ‘or not’ because there is much ugliness and dysfunction in the places we have made in the last 70 years. It is that critique that led me to study architecture and to direct my work to the larger context of urbanism.

In the classroom, to share with students the thrill of proposing solutions, we engage the wicked problems of our time: conservation and sustainability, adaptation to climate change impacts, housing affordability, and post-disaster rebuilding, among others.

Urban design is a field that welcomes practitioners from many disciplines. My colleagues in the movement called the New Urbanism, who seek to promote alternatives to suburban sprawl, are architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, attorneys, developers, civic activists, and elected leaders. Medical professionals also support the goals of making pedestrian-friendly communities with mixed-use destinations, to get us out of cars and to encourage us to get to know our neighbors!

At the U, you can focus on just about any field with the anticipation of directing your career to address the important urban concerns of our time – including the always powerful making places more beautiful. If this is of interest to you, I would be happy to help you with any questions you may have.