FAU’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions Celebrates 50th AnniversaryWednesday, May 31, 2023
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 17 at the Lake Pavilion in downtown West Palm Beach.
“We were excited to welcome faculty, staff, students, alumni, and key partners in industry to celebrate this occasion and share in our vision for the future,” said John L. Renne, Ph.D., AICP, Professor and CUES Director. “Given our successful history, CUES is well-positioned to guide a sustainable and resilient future that manages continued growth and development, challenges of expensive housing, traffic, and threats associated with climate change.”
At the reception, guests enjoyed food, drinks and live music, along with an exciting program which commemorated the center’s history. Event speakers included former Director of CUES Jim Murley, Miami-Dade County Chief Resilience Officer; Chris Delisio, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and CEO of the FAU Foundation; Honorable Keith A. James, Mayor, City of West Palm Beach; Florida Senator Bobby Powell, Jr., AICP, 2018 APA FL Legislator of the Year; and alumni from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Schmidt College of Science Dean Valery Forbes, Ph.D., also shared remarks about CUES, and the College’s environmental mission.
“CUES is the embodiment of multidisciplinary studies, with collaborations not only with many departments in our College, but also with FAU’s College of Business, College of Nursing, College of Engineering, College of Medicine, and the School of Architecture. The team-based approaches that CUES embraces are key to solving some of society’s most complex challenges,” stated Dean Forbes. “CUES is key to the College’s efforts in creating a resilient future that prepares and lessens anthropogenic impacts on South Florida ecosystems and human communities.”
Additionally, the event marked the launch of the John M. DeGrove Endowed Scholarship fund, which will benefit students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
Originally established as the FAU/FIU Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems in 1972, with Professor John M. DeGrove, Ph.D., as its first director, CUES remains dedicated to working with communities, local residents and decision-makers to address urban and environmental issues through partnerships, education and research. Its efforts have focused on preserving natural systems, promoting a strong economy and planning livable communities, with a broad constituency of support, including local governments, state agencies, civic and business groups, academics, students, practicing professionals, and others.
Renne has led the center since 2016. During his tenure at FAU, Renne has co-authored two books and dozens of academic publications. He has led CUES to partner with several local governments and agencies to focus on applied urban planning projects. In 2023, Renne was named the FAU Scholar of the Year.
CUES’ focus on land use and transportation planning, aligned with resilience and sustainability goals, resulted in active grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Kresge Foundation, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, among others. The latest US DOT funding for CUES supports the collaborations with other universities as part of the Center for Equitable Transportation Oriented Communities.
Related Companies, the City of West Palm Beach and the Abacoa Partnership for Community were gold sponsors for this event.