Student Planner of the Year: Jessica Kluttz
Jessica Kluttz is a recent graduate of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Florida Atlantic University. She began her planning education at FAU in the Bachelor of Urban Design program and then proceeded to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program where she worked on real world assignments to gain experience and knowledge in the applications of planning principles.
In 2020 she worked alongside classmates to create a comprehensive revitalization plan for approximately 2,500 acres of the City of Deerfield Beach to address the concerns of an aging community. In creating this plan, she helped to host several public meetings to present proposals and receive feedback from citizens, planning staff, and city commission members. This feedback was then directly implemented in improvements to the plan.
After completing this project, Jessica felt that more could be done to help the community achieve better walkability and recreation facilities access, which members of the public had expressed concern about and, for her final project in the MURP program, she developed a pedestrian loop trail to connect parks, neighborhoods, and local businesses.
The design for this trail was based on considerations for safety and the natural environment, showing her drive to create complete communities that benefit the health and welfare of all. This project was then submitted to the city to be added to the previous plan for potential future implementation as part of area improvement efforts.
While at FAU, Jessica served as both Secretary and President of the student planning organization, scheduling events where students could interact with planning professionals both through FAU and in collaboration with other universities and professional associations. For the 2020-21 school year, Jessica was also the University Student Liaison to the Broward Section of APA Florida. Also, as a Graduate Research Assistant at FAU, Jessica worked with faculty members on projects relating to walkability, public health, and the impact of sea level rise on South Florida communities.
Jessica is now working as a planner with Davidson Engineering in Naples, a role she hopes will allow her to see positive change in the community through smarter development and community outreach.