At the center of how we experience, navigate and routinize a city are the engineers and planners whose meticulous measurements keep buildings up and whose analysis of available space keep cities functioning.
It’s those details and understanding of how we navigate this space, that have always fascinated Delone Cramer.
“I have always had a passion for cities and highways. I found that learning about new developments and improvements being made to a city’s infrastructure fascinated me. In high school, I participated in Project Lead the Way, with a focus on engineering. As college neared, I saw myself wanting to become a transportation engineer or a road designer.”
As Delone was continuing to refine his mathematical skills, he enrolled in a geography course called Sustainable Cities. What functioned as a general education credit, opened up a new field of study that wasn’t completely reliant on mathematical processes.
“I found my interests moving away from statistical analysis and found that I wanted to more involved in the planning phase. I didn’t know what that meant until a friend, who had a similar interest, recommended a geography course that covered urban planning.”
The course focused on cultivating the skills needed to make a good planner, the knowledge needed to analysis proposals and connected students with local planners to see the day-to-day functions of urban planning.
“We were pushed to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to propose major changes to a city as well as improve our presentation skills. During the semester we worked on a project that involved presenting suggestions for an area in Columbia.”
Delone’s area is what is known as Canal Side, a developing mixed-use space along the Saluda River. His proposal focused on using the element of space to encourage activity and increase the well-being of those living in the area.
The course also connected students to professionals. Students visited Greenville, South Carolina to learn how urban planners have transformed the city into a thriving economy complete with parks and unique transportation systems.
Inspired by the course, Delone changed his major from civil engineering to geography. The course not only opened up a new way to explore his interest but also gave him the confidence that this was the right direction.
“I know that as an urban planner I must have good leadership and communication skills because I will be speaking with community partners and stakeholders, understanding their needs, the problems they face and how the changes I propose will affect them.”
I am South Carolina.