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Humans of the U: Connor Dahlquist

“For me, the City and Metropolitan Planning graduate program at the U is a unique opportunity in the College of Architecture + Planning. With an undergraduate background in design, I’m able to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum and structure my studies to integrate architectural perspectives with urban planning principles. Students are able to make the program the way they want to through a number of offered specializations. For me, I chose two; Urban Design and Economic and Real Estate Development. I really like that I get to focus on what I am most interested in and cater my resume to the jobs I want. 

In my first year, I focused my courses on the Economic and Real Estate Development specialization. Now, I am working towards the Urban Design specialization through studio work. This focus has been my favorite. Last semester, our studio worked with the City of South Salt Lake to conceptualize strategies that would help create a distinct downtown identity. My group designed a series of pedestrian-friendly festival streets to enhance daily activity and serve as a space for special events in their downtown. 

This semester has been the most exciting of my degree. Our studio is working to design downtown pedestrian mall concepts for Salt Lake City’s Main Street. We are lucky to receive feedback from local and regional architecture firms, representatives from the mayor’s office, and other leaders in the built environment field. Main Street is such an iconic street with its unique businesses, entertainment, and the TRAX running down it. We are looking at methods that will create an exciting pedestrian-only space served by the light rail. 

In addition to my program, I have gotten really involved with student government at the U, as the Director of Marketing. I was active in student government during my undergraduate at the University of Idaho and so I feel lucky to continue to do the same as a graduate student. The skills that I’ve gained in student leadership have given me a unique perspective and tons of transferrable skills that I use in my master’s program. I know not everyone gets a chance to be involved with extracurriculars as a master’s student, especially when they come to a new school, but I think it’s really enhanced my experience.”

— Connor Dahlquist, a second-year City and Metropolitan Planning master’s student, 

Director of Marketing, Associated Students of the University of Utah