Bruce Stephenson is dedicated to the art of city planning. A Rollins College Environmental
Studies professor, his research and teaching reveal how history informs the intersection of
regional planning, sustainability, and urbanism. Bruce is a champion of the pragmatic
application of the liberal arts, earning respect and accolades from community partners. He has
served on an array of boards and committees and comments on civic issues in editorials, media interviews, and a series of PBS documentaries aired in Florida.
A Floridian, Stephenson earned a Masters of City & Regional Planning from The Ohio State
University. He spent two years with the Pinellas County Planning Department before earning a
PhD at Emory University. Stephenson’s doctoral research unveiled John Nolen’s previously undocumented 1923 plan for St. Petersburg, Florida’s first comprehensive city plan. Nolen's timeless blueprint is the focus of Stephenson's first book,Visions of Eden (Ohio State Press).
Stephenson’s Nolen research introduced him to two founding members of the Congress of the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (DPZ). Nolen inspired their plan
for Seaside, Florida, the prototype New Urbanist community. In 1990 Stephenson presented his
findings at a John Nolen Symposium hosted by the University of Miami and DPZ. Since then he
has written extensively on Nolen and his latest book, John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City
Planner (Library of American Landscape History) documents the noted reformer’s genius for
place-making and reveals why his plans continue to inform professional practitioners and civic
organizations. Stephenson also wrote the Introduction to a new edition of Nolen’s visionary text New Ideals in the Planning of Villages, Towns and Cities (Routledge Press). Written near the end of World War I, it provided a template for the new urban nation that Nolen employed in designing the iconic new towns of Mariemont, Ohio and Venice, Florida. Stephenson has also documented the accomplishments of such noted figures as Lewis Mumford, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson. As a consultant, he utilizes historical precedent to inform commissions, which include the Master Plan for Winter Park’s Central Park, the ecological restoration of the Genius Preserve, and the Greenspace Plan for the Winter Springs Town Center.
Metropolitan Orlando is the most dangerous pedestrian environment in the nation, and Bruce is actively engaged in mitigating this disaster. In 1989, Bruce was the lead consultant for Orange County’s citizen review of its Comprehensive Policy Plan. The yearlong process produced a “multi-modal” approach to transportation planning; the starting point for a score of projects Stephenson pursued to rectify the inefficiencies of suburban sprawl. Recently, he established Orlando Metropolitan Greenspaces (www.rollins.edu/greenspaces) to identify pedestrian oriented civic spaces, and garnered an EPA Sustainability Grant to Activate SunRail in Winter Park. That report can be found here.
Representative Projects Designed to the Human Scale:
Audubon Park, Orlando’s First Eco-District
Meadow Woods & SunRail: Options for Transit-Oriented Development
Interlachen Avenue as a Green Street
Wekiva 2020: Conceptual Design Wekiva River Protection Area
Winter Springs Town Center Greenspace & Trail Plan
Cady Way Bicycle Trail
Cross Seminole Bicycle Trail
Seminole-Wekiva Bicycle Trail