HUPO looks back and forward

by Zoe Merideth

The Masters in Urban Planning program students recently voted for the Harvard Urban Planning Organization officers for the upcoming year. Adrienne Mathews and Lydia Scott (MUP ’14) will be the organization’s presidents. HUPO is made up of students studying urban planning at the GSD and serves as a vehicle for engaging with professionals, academics, community organizations, city governments, and other students in working to improve cities. Each year HUPO puts together a calendar of planning-related lectures, forums, social gatherings, and activities.

Over the past academic year, presidents Salmaan Khan and Oscar Quintanilla (MUP ’13) have worked hard to increase HUPO’s presence. A highlight of the year was HUPO’s sponsorship of Park(ing) Day at the GSD. During the event, students created a temporary open space by bringing plants and seating to an empty parking spot on Cambridge Street. HUPO also helped to sponsored the dance and art festival Decemberfest, which was a MUP student’s project for the Networked Urbanism option studio.

HUPO has helped sponsor lectures with planning officials in GSD wide and smaller lectures. Earlier this semester, Mitchell Silver, APA president, lectured on the future of planning. HUPO also sponsored a panel on Innovation Districts that focused on Cambridge’s Kendall Square. HUPO’s Salons provided MUPs the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with planners and designers. This past year, Tom Leighton discussed revitalizing communities and Dietmar Offenhuber discussed his media art. HUPO has also been an advocate for providing more career resources for planners. Salmaan and Oscar have promoted their agenda of “increasing the visibility of the planning program within the GSD, and within Harvard University as a whole.”

The incoming presidents have a number of goals to accomplish during their term. Adrienne and Lydia are hoping to sponsor more events for planners and the GSD community as a whole, engage with other student organizations, and continue to work with Career Services to develop planning-specific career opportunities. Adrienne and Lydia said they are “looking forward to increasing the presence of the planning program” by hosting more student events.

Photo: Salmaan Khan