The Washington-Baltimore area offers a wealth of resources and real-life case studies for students of real estate development. Greenbelt, Maryland, just minutes from the College Park campus, is an important landmark in the history of planned communities. This 1930s development was chartered by the Federal government to create housing for middle-class workers in the expanding government. In the 1960s, additional planned communities were created in Columbia, Maryland and Reston, Virginia. Today, both are successful suburban communities that continue to serve as national models.
The region has long embraced adaptation and growth, much of it driven by expansion of government and non-profit institutions. The expansion of the biotech corridor along I-270, the trend for the military branches to relocate workers to the edges of the urban area, and the Tech boom in Northern Virginia all demonstrate the need to grow smart wherever development is happening.
In Southern Maryland, just an hour and half from the campus, is Historic St. Mary's City, the capital of the fourth colony in America and the location of many firsts in America. The first planned City of major proportions, St. Mary's City was home to the first Catholic Chapel in America as well the first man of color to vote, the first woman attorney and the first official ordinance by a government requiring the separation of church and state in order to maintain a tolerant society.
LEAFHouse at the University of Maryland: The University of Maryland is proud to be a three-time participant in the Solar Decathlon, organized by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Born of the elegant marriage of biological knowledge and cutting-edge technology, LEAFHouse, our adaptable resource-efficient house, demonstrates what happens when bioinspired design savvy, traditional know-how, and cutting-edge technology join as integral parts of a sustainable lifestyle. Placing fourth in 2002 and winning the People's Choice Award in 2005, the Maryland team placed second overall in 2007 and won first place in many of the categories. Check out the Solar Team's website.
Other resources on campus include strong libraries and digital resources, the Visual Resource Center at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the archives of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Burns Center for Leadership Development. Off-campus, there are always exciting exhibitions and programs operated by the National Building Museum as well as the headquarters and programs of the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks and the Urban Land Institute. There are also a multitude of smaller associations in virtually all aspects of development, including the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and the Housing and Development Law Institute. In Baltimore, there is a Public Works Museum about all the infrastructure that keeps the City moving. The museum houses the Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by faculty member Gary Bowden.
As part of the curriculum, students are required to join one organization at student rates as well as subscribe to a local business journal that highlights real estate development.