City and regional planning lies at a nexus of many disciplines and intellectual traditions. It calls for interdisciplinary synthesis to blend theoretical insights from the social sciences and the natural sciences with urban, planning, and design theories, using these insights to engage communities in facilitating more inclusive, healthier, and more vibrant places.
As a founding member of the College of Environmental Design, the Department was grounded in values emphasizing just this sort of synthesis – based on multidisciplinary research and education, critical thinking and inquiry, dialogue between theory and practice, and the importance of collaboration. More than a half century later, the urban future is complex and rapidly changing in ways that make these values ever more relevant. We face challenges ranging from economic instability to climate change, diminishing resources, and deep social inequalities. These dynamics will generate resource scarcity and conflict, but also technological innovation amid a rising tide of social activism – all of which promise to alter the ways in which city and regional planning has conventionally been carried out. Our exceptional, award‑winning faculty tackle urban challenges at scales ranging from local to global. Their work takes them around the world, from Nairobi to São Paulo, from Durban to Beijing, from Singapore to San Francisco.
Our undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as faculty research and community service activities, address social justice, equity, and ethics; innovative means of public participation, collective decision making, and advocacy; and ways to reform institutions, urban governance, policy and planning practices. Faculty research harnesses the latest methods and data, ranging from ethnography to sophisticated 3‑D simulations and visualization. Their expertise is diverse, and includes sustainable transportation and land use, economic development, urban health and social policy, environmental assessment and sustainability, global urbanization and poverty, and urban design for livable places. Our collective goal is to create cities, infrastructure, and public services that are sustainable, affordable, healthy, enjoyable, and accessible to all. It is also to sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable department.
We look forward to a year of intellectual excitement and academic excellence!