ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABILITY
School of Environmental Design
Department of Community and Regional Planning
Undergraduate Degree – Community Development
Community development as a field embraces both citizen activists and professionals in planned efforts to identify, enhance, and create social and physical assets that increase the capacity of residents to improve their quality of life. Community development focuses on grass roots, community-based initiatives, complimenting the field of Community and Regional Planning, which is often more policy driven and government sponsored.
Students will learn to understand and think critically about the social, political, economic, historic, and cultural dynamics shaping various types of communities. Courses provide important knowledge, values, and skills necessary for community development work. Students will learn how to engage stakeholders; assess a community’s assets, needs and opportunities; plan what the community wants to achieve: and develop strategies, programs, and policies to improve quality of life. Learning will extend beyond the classroom with hands-on experience through service learning, field research, informal gatherings, and workshops.
Graduate Degree – Community and Regional Planning
The Department of Community and Regional Planning offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree. The primary purpose of the program is to develop skilled practitioners for the dynamic and growing field of community and regional planning in government, non-profit, and private sectors. These skills place students in the front lines of efforts to create and maintain sustainable communities.
The program builds on the traditions already established in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, which has a long history of involvement with land use issues, and the Center for Sustainable Communities.
Areas of Specialization
Planners must understand how cities, towns, and regions are structured and how to create and evaluate plans that maintain and improve the quality of life in those communities.
The M.S. in Community and Regional Planning (CRP) addresses problems affecting large portions of the American population. In particular, the Philadelphia suburbs, including Ambler in Montgomery County, are experiencing the difficulties associated with population increases: the exponential growth of schools without an adequate tax base; the stress on groundwater and other aspects of the natural environment; the loss of open land to tract housing; the construction of shopping malls and the accompanying decline of small central towns; and the emphasis on the automobile at the expense of public transportation.
CRP courses help students to develop skills to address these issues by emphasizing the preparation of the urban/suburban land use plan, including data collection, site analysis and evaluation of location, market, transportation, and environmental factors.
Private, public and non-profit employment opportunities are strong for graduate degree holders based on current need and a projected growth for the next decade.
Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning
Today’s world of rapid urbanization faces tremendous social and environmental challenges. If you are interested in becoming a talented thinker and practitioner to engage and confront them, UEP is the right place for you. Our goal is the education of a new generation of leaders, ‘practical visionaries,’ who will contribute to the development of inclusive and sustainable communities. A key step toward this is making our institutions more responsive to child, adult, and ultimately community well-being by helping them understand, empathize with, and respond to the social, economic, and environmental needs of individuals and communities.
At 40, UEP has grown tremendously in its capacity and influence. The UEP education integrates knowledge, skills and values to anticipate the future. You will develop an understanding of the dynamics of cities and regions, integrate theories and practices of planning and policy-making, explore creative ways to bridge social justice and sustainable development, and engage in community-based projects and research. UEP students are an activist group, successful in the creation of learning communities involving food system planning, climate policy and planning, and intercultural practice. For you, the room to grow and flourish is enormous.
We offer two graduate public policy and planning programs culminating in either a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree, which is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), or a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree. Our curriculum is built around a set of six core values (below) and a set of competencies based on three areas: knowledge, skills, and policy and planning in practice. We offer a wide range of electives, many taught by seasoned practitioners with extensive teaching experience. Students benefit from our connections with other schools at Tufts and Boston College, through either taking courses or pursuing joint/dual degrees — among the areas are child development, nutrition and food policy, international affairs, environmental engineering, law, and business management.
UEP is a community of practice and scholars – our faculty, students and alumni are public-spirited individuals committed to engaged processes and just outcomes for cities and communities. Enabled by the UEP education they receive here, our graduates progress to important positions and challenging careers in government, nonprofit organizations, citizen advocacy groups, international NGOs, and the private sector, both in the U.S. and across the world. Our diverse faculty is active in research and engaged scholarship; many are leading scholars in their respective fields of expertise. Just sustainability, environmental health and ethics, shrinking cities, housing and community development, child and family policy, and international planning and urban policy, to name just a few.
Come and join us to foster your ambitions and hone your abilities. We look forward to hearing from you.
Professor and Chair
UEP’s curriculum is built around a set of six core values:
- An appreciation of the inextricable linkages between social, economic and environmental issues and the ability to make policy and planning recommendations accordingly;
- An appreciation of the role of values in policy formation and planning and the ethical/social responsibility of policy and planning professionals to act accordingly;
- An appreciation of the deeply embedded nature of gender, age, race, class, disability, culture and sexual orientation in all aspects of public policy and planning;
- An appreciation of the centrality of spatial, social and environmental justice to all aspects of public policy and planning;
- An appreciation of the need to understand the role of individual and community rights and responsibilities in public policy and planning; and
- An appreciation of the need to move society toward the development of sustainable communities where there is a high quality of human life, delivered in a just and equitable manner while respecting the limits of supporting ecosystems.
Graduate School of Design
Department of Urban Planning & Design
Welcome to the Department of Urban Planning and Design
Welcome to the Department of Urban Planning and Design. It was at Harvard University that the first formal North American programs in city and regional planning (1923) and urban design (1960) were established. Since then, Harvard has played a leading role in the education of urban planners and urban designers.
The Department of Urban Planning and Design is home to both professions, offering a first professional degree in urban planning and a post-professional degree in urban design. Composed of internationally experienced scholars and practitioners, the department’s faculty explores the built environment from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and points of view. The department’s pedagogically innovative combination of interdisciplinary studios, lecture courses, seminars, and independent study, coupled with a relatively small student size of roughly 100 individuals drawn from around the world, creates an intimate, engaged educational atmosphere in which students thrive and learn.
Students take full advantage of the curricular and extracurricular offerings of the GSD’s other departments of landscape architecture and architecture. The Department also draws upon the significant resources of Harvard University as a whole. Two professorships are shared with the Kennedy School of Government and the Urban Planning program administers a joint degree program with the Law School and the Kennedy School. Students often cross-register in courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Kennedy School, the Business School, the Law School, and the School of Public Health. Students also cross-register in courses offered by the neighboring Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design
Pratt Institute School of Architecture
City and Regional Planning Program
The mission of the graduate City and Regioinal Planning (CRP) program is to provide a professionally oriented education to a student body with diverse cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds. The CRP program focuses on participatory planning and sustainable, equitable communities, while stressing a multidisciplinary approach. Students graduate equipped with the knowledge of theory, technical capacity, collaborative skills, and critical thinking abilities necessary to plan for economic, environmental, and social justice in urban neighborhoods and metropolitan regions.
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University combines pioneering disciplinary experimentation with an uncompromising engagement with the world and the urgent questions of our time. Located in the heart of the Columbia Morningside campus in one of the most vibrant global cities in the world, the GSAPP is committed to imagining a future where architecture and cities are reinvented and recast in a more symbiotic relationship with the environment.
As a leader in shaping the fields of architecture and the built environment, Columbia’s GSAPP explores questions of global practice and fosters the development of new forms of design research and scholarship, opening up new territories for more meaningful practices of architecture and the design of cities, in an expanded field and within a context of social and environmental concerns. In t
his synthetic moment, the GSAPP draws together the geographical question of “where” with the temporal question of “when,” making visible the processes of rapid urbanization in a time of climate change. We bring these questions to bear on the thinking and design of everything, from the scale of a brick to that of a city.
At the GSAPP, we believe that the expanded disciplines of architecture and urbanism—as well as the redesigned figures of architects, urban planners, environmental and urban designers, real estate developers, preservationists, critics, and curators—are all formed through relentless probing and focused exploration toward the creation of new relationships, understandings and hierarchies with radically different consequences for research and practice as well as for the future of architecture, cities, and the environment.
All of our programs strive to offer the highest standards of expertise and knowledge combined with a generous and open-ended form of education, where long established curricula not only respond to the constant transformation of the world around us, but are also designed to give both faculty and students the means to lead this transformation. With a deep commitment to experimentation that weaves together cutting edge skills with incisive critical thinking, Columbia’s GSAPP is a laboratory for learning, where students and faculty engage one another in a spirit of intellectual respect and support. We do not believe that schools exist to prepare students for the world, but rather that the world is always already here, inflecting everything we do—from design studios to seminars, and from spaces of discussion and debate to laboratories for research and making. As such, our students believe they can contribute to the shaping of the world from the moment they arrive.
As a spatial network, Columbia’s GSAPP brings together a highly diverse group of people, faculty, and students from around the world at our locations in various cities and across continents. In New York, the School’s long commitment to engaging the city’s endlessly vibrant and condensed life continues to provide a strong context for understanding our industrialized past while imagining alternative futures. Through its global network of Studio-X locations, the school offers a generous infrastructure through which to imagine new pedagogical models: undermining notions of center-periphery and promoting relational thinking as both students and faculty navigate this expanded notion of what a school of architecture and the built environment can be. Engaging with these various sites and collaborating with our Studio-X Directors, new knowledge is produced that expands the canon of architectural and urban thinking, simultaneously opening up possibilities for new lines of inquiry and forms of practice.
Acting as a glue that binds our diverse programs and research interests together are the Centers and Labs, which are led by faculty and focused on various forms of research into the past, present, and future of architecture, cities, the environment, and technology. Many of these investigations enable a feedback loop between teaching and research, where faculty interests create a context for student explorations. Research at the GSAPP not only cuts across the various programs, it extends the school’s focus beyond its own walls to connect to other schools and institutes on Columbia’s campus.
Events, Exhibitions, and Publications constitute the heart of the GSAPP’s engagement with the public sphere. Through its vibrant events and programming, the school becomes a platform for discussion, debate, and the exchange of ideas in New York and across our Studio-X network, percolating ideas back through every studio, classroom, and workshop. The Ross Architecture Gallery and our publishing imprint, GSAPP Books, act in tandem to further question and expand the canon of architectural and urban education, bridging faculty research and student curiosity with original research into moments of architectural and urban history, often theorized and presented for the first time to international audiences through the highest levels of curatorial and critical practices.
Finally, Columbia’s GSAPP is best described as a coming together of the most outstanding and diverse faculty — spanning a gradient from pure scholarship to pure practice, with many hybrid models in between — and an equally creative and dynamic body of students. Our students bring together endless curiosity, talent, incurable optimism, and a sense of entrepreneurship, rendering them leaders in the field as they continue to strive to change the world.
Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Program
Welcome to UAP at Virginia Tech
The Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program serves the university, students, and society through our instruction, research, and outreach activities in urban planning and public policy. Our program applies an interdisciplinary, comparative, hands-on approach to instruction and research in two undergraduate degrees (B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs and B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning), an accredited masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), and a doctoral program in Planning, Governance & Globalization (PGG).
Our graduate program in Urban Affairs and Planning operates both at the main Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg in rural southwestern Virginia and in Old Town Alexandria, across the Potomac River from Washington DC in the metropolitan National Capital Region. At both campus locations, several simultaneous degree programs (with Landscape Architecture, Natural Resources, Public and International Affairs, and Public Administration) allow UAP master’s students to earn a second master’s degree by coordinating course requirements that save time and money compared to earning the two degrees separately. Opportunities for both degree and non-degree students also exist to earn graduate-level certificates in Metropolitan Development, Economic Development, Geospatial Information Technology, Global Planning and International Development Studies, Watershed Management, and other area in one or both campus locations.
Within our undergraduate programs in Blacksburg, our goal is to provide an interdisciplinary education in the humanities, natural and social sciences, planning, and public policy to understand the consequences of human occupation of the landscape and solutions to address the problems that emanate from it. We seek to educate students broadly, while equipping them with the necessary planning and policy background, oral and written communication skills, computer applications, knowledge, and analytical thinking to find meaningful employment or graduate education in today’s competitive market.
Message from the Chairs
Teaching, research, and community engagement in our Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program rest on the premise that no single discipline or approach can explain the complexities of modern communities, thus requiring reaching across disciplinary and professional boundaries. In support of this philosophy, UAP faculty with expertise in economics, geography, history, sociology, political science, planning, law, social psychology, and engineering have come together across our two-campus program to provide students with a coherent vision of how communities work and how to facilitate positive changes within them.
Our teaching and research benefit both from the mix of backgrounds that our faculty members bring to the program—different disciplinary training and professional experiences prior to Virginia Tech—and from the third leg of our program, namely engagement and interaction with communities and institutions looking for help on their real-world problems. As researchers, we seek to make a difference in the places around the world where we work. This includes applied and theoretical efforts in such realms as bringing better sanitation to developing countries, helping distressed cities in the US revitalize their neighborhoods, promoting more bicycling in dense urban environments, reducing losses from earthquakes in China, understanding the influences of digital technologies on urban interactions, dealing with the problems of gentrification in low-income communities of color, and improving energy codes in housing. We embrace students in these activities, both as researchers and in classroom and course studios and exercises. Many of our classes have a strong, hands-on element where students regularly collaborate with representatives from planning, policy, and neighborhood institutions in project-based initiatives, most require students to go into the field to collect and analyze primary information to better understand a community context, and still others regularly tap into the expertise of leading practitioners as adjunct faculty or guest speakers.
Our dual location in rural southwestern Virginia and metropolitan Washington DC—embodied in our co-Chair model across our two locations—gives our program a unique vantage and a singular opportunity to immerse our faculty and students into diverse environments. We invite you to explore our program further online or by contacting either of us or any other faculty member with questions.
University of Missouri – Kansas City
Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design
The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design offers educational excellence for students seeking a career in the professions of architecture, urban planning and design, landscape architecture and interior architecture/project design. Our department builds partnerships with neighborhoods, communities and municipalities in the Kansas City region and beyond to engage in applied research and give students experience in their chosen field of study.
Urban Planning + Design addresses how we collectively improve cities and the built environment.
This requires analysis of the natural, visual, and physical form of cities as well as assessment of the political, social, and economic character of community life. Planners work on the leading issues facing cities and regions today including:
- How can we improve the places in which we live?
- Why are well-designed public spaces critical to urban life?
- How should we rebuild after a disaster?
- How can we improve bicycling and walking options?
- How can we revitalize older neighborhoods?
- Where should we build new development?
- Is sprawl sustainable?
- How can we get the public to participate in decisions about a neighborhood?
- How should we decide what structures and landmarks are worth preserving?
- How do we resolve disputes between conflicting land uses?
Students learn about cities and design from a hands-on perspective as part of this studio-based program. By their junior year, students will work with community stakeholders to develop and present their plans and designs. Our coursework actively engages the community in the planning process by modeling the cutting-edge of professional practice. Our emphasis on physical planning gives students the tools necessary to rebuild neighborhoods, to apply innovations in community design and to reform planning practice to meet the dynamic new urban problems of the 21st century. Our graduates leave UMKC with a skill set in demand in the planning and design professions. Graduates report a high degree of satisfaction, and in 2014, a majority of graduates had planning-related jobs within a few months of graduation.
We work with students to prepare them for the job market in urban planning. Students are required to complete a 240-hour internship as part of their studies. Students practice interviewing and resume-writing, and they are required to produce a writing sample and portfolio of their work. We also work with the local KC Metro Section of the American Planning Association to provide internship opportunities for planning students. Our location in the center of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area makes it convenient for students to contact and to get to know local employers.
The program puts an emphasis on physical planning and urban design with community-based projects assigned over the course of the six-semester studio sequence. In the first year, students learn introductory design process, planning analysis, and graphic communication. In the second year, planning exercises in studio include an analysis of the parcel and the grid, an international comparison of urbanisms, site planning, elements of the public realm, and planning program design and development. The last year of studio is spent on planning projects for actual clients addressing comprehensive planning and implementation. The full range of planning knowledge, skills and values are taught in the variety of studio and lecture classes.