CUBA: Urban Design and Planning, June 9 - 23, 1999, a Study Abroad Program offered by Virginia Tech.

This will be the ninth in a series of study abroad programs in Cuba offered by Virginia Tech and coordinated by Professor Joseph Scarpaci. Professor Scarpaci has visited Cuba a total of 21 times since 1990. The academic focus of this year's program will be urban design and planning under colonial, republican, and revolutionary rule; housing; the role of non-governmental organizations in Cuba's changing political economy; and the new private/mixed market.

The aim of this program is to facilitate research and studies for selected graduate and undergraduate students, professional journalists, and researchers who are studying some aspect of contemporary Cuba or Cuban history. We will address a wide array of social, economic and political issues unfolding in contemporary Cuba. All curious participants are welcome and should not feel that this program is only for planners and architects.


 The trip consists of a total of 14 days (7 days in Havana,) 7 days traveling to and staying in Trinidad, Habana Vieja, and Varadero. Trinidad and Old Havana are UNESCO declared World Heritage Sites. We will meet largely outside the classroom, including meetings with community organizations, government offices and NGO headquarters. On class days, lectures or meetings with Cubans will be in the morning, while in the afternoon we will go to a site that corresponds to the morning lecture. Trips are planned to museums, architectural landmarks, public agencies, NGOs, and universities.

Field trips correspond to lectures and readings. Students will be able to see first-hand some of the important concepts discussed in meetings and lectures. There will also be a pig roast at a small farm outside Havana.

Video clips about the urban design and planning in Cuba can be found at:


The course is open to any student, faculty member, or professional studying some aspect of Cuba. Students from other universities or persons enrolling as special students in Virginia Tech summer school may receive transfer credit. All participants are subject to approval by the U.S. Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. The professor will secure a group license for all participants. The course is open to any student, professor, journalist or professionals engaged in some aspect of inquiry related to comparative aspects of urbanization, planning, social sciences, architecture or community development.

Dates: 14 days, June 9 - 23, 1999. Subject to charter flight availability

Travel, Lodging and other Program Features.

The program will most likely officially begin and end in Nassau, Bahamas, unless direct charter flights out of Miami become available. The program includes round-trip charter flight from Nassau, Bahamas or Miami to Havana, lodging, 2 meals daily, lectures and at least 7 field trips, visas, ground transportation by air-conditioned buses, course reading packet, and lectures in Havana and Trinidad by architects, geographers, planners, community organizers and social scientists. Lodging will be in 3-star bed and breakfasts and some of the time in student boarding housing. Participants should anticipate brief power outages in Havana.

Program Cost from Nassau.

 $1,750 plus $100 application fee (10% discount if paid by March 1st, 1999).

Course Credit and Fees.

 The United States government requires all students studying in Cuba to be registered for course credit. The program fees do not include tuition. Three credit hours will be given for the program. Both graduate and undergraduate credit will be offered under UAP (Urban Affairs and Planning) 4984 and UAP 5984. Both letter grade and Pass/Fail options are available.

All participants pay tuition directly to Virginia Tech except faculty. Final payment must be made by April 1, 1999. Credit fees for the course are:


Virginians $309 Out-of-State $939


Virginians $483 Out-of-State $786

Non-Virginia Tech students will complete a "Non-degree seeking application form" as part of the application process. Professor Scarpaci can provide this form.

The application form is available at The form is not interactive; you may either print it out or save it as source and then pull it up in any word processor. The application form should be accompanied with a $100 application fee which is non-refundable unless a license from the U.S. Treasury is denied. All payments should be made out to: "The Treasurer of Virginia Tech."

The Director

Scarpaci is a Professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. His areas of specialization include urban affairs and planning (urban geography, Latin American historic districts, urban social movements), social theory, and Latin American studies. He is the previous chair of the Latin American Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. Professor Scarpaci is a co-author of the recently published Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis.

For More Information

This information is also available at

For further information about the Cuba program, contact Scarpaci:
Office: (540) 231-7504
Fax: (540) 231-3367
Thank you.