City + Regional Planning

Concentrations

Master of City Planning

Concentration in Environmental Planning and Healthy Cities

(CY PLAN 25* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Charisma Acey, Jason Corburn, John Radke, Jennifer Wolch (on leave as dean of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design)

The environmental planning and health cities concentration is designed to give MCP students a broad knowledge of the relationship between the built environment and the natural environment, as well as specific technical skills that can be applied professionally to solve environmental problems. Environmental issues affect every aspect of planning, so it is necessary to have an understanding of history, theory, institutions, economics, law, quantitative and qualitative methods, urban design, and natural factors. The program is particularly concerned with the relationship between human settlements and the natural environment. Students are encouraged to consider how negative environmental impacts can be mitigated through the development of alternative approaches to urban settlement patterns, urban design, and infrastructure systems. Both physical planning and non-spatial policy affect environmental planning and policy.

Joint degree programs are encouraged and students can receive two degrees in three years with the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (M.C.P. & M.L.A.) and the School of Public Health (M.C.P. and Masters in Public Health, M.P.H.).

Concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development (HCED)

(CY PLAN 23* and CY PLAN 26* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Teresa Caldeira, Karen Chapple, Carol Galante, Carolina Reid, Jennifer Wolch (on leave as dean of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design)

The housing, community and economic development (HCED) concentration focuses on the equitable development of neighborhoods, cities and regions in the United States and internationally. This concentration is distinguished by its attention to issues of racial, social and economic justice within the built environment, often from the perspective of historically disinvested and segregated communities.  Faculty in this concentration work on topics such as:

  • Planning for sustainability, including issues related to regional governance, affordable housing, and the linkages between land use and climate change
  • Gentrification and displacement
  • Housing and real estate development, including access to credit, the financing and construction of affordable housing, and housing policy
  • Spatial segregation and social discrimination in both the United States and in the Global South
  • Forms of political participation and resistance
  • International development, including the provision of housing, water and sanitation in informal settlements
  • Community development and community organizing, including programs and policies designed to remediate concentrated poverty and longstanding patterns of residential segregation

Faculty within the HCED concentration draw on multidisciplinary perspectives including research in anthropology, economic, history, and sociology, and incorporate both qualitative and quantitative methods in their research.  Students in this concentration go on to work in a wide variety of roles in the public and private sectors.  We encourage students to take classes in all three concentration subfields, since in practice they are closely intertwined. 

Concentration in Transportation Planning

(CY PLAN 21* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Daniel Chatman, Karen Frick, Daniel Rodriguez, Paul Waddell 

The transportation planning concentration focuses on planning for urban transportation and land use systems, and interactions of transportation and land use with the built, natural, and social environments. In presenting the social, economic, and environmental implications of transportation and land use plans and policies, and promoting economic efficiency, green transport, resource conservation, and environmental protection, the courses in the concentration are focused around themes of equity, environmental justice, and social welfare. We emphasize the planning and policy challenges encountered by attempting to increase the use of environmentally sustainable travel modes such as walking, cycling and public transit, and the creation of environmentally sustainable land use patterns such as compact growth and transit-oriented development. Topics covered in the core courses include the impacts of transit and highways on urban form and economic development; the impacts of urban form, transit-oriented development and new urbanism on travel behavior; governance, finance, and implementation challenges in making sustainable transport investments; the importance of highway and transit finance, municipal finance, and development finance; the promises and pitfalls of innovative sustainability solutions such as congestion pricing, parking pricing, and master development plans; streets and pedestrian- oriented designs; transportation and land use planning in the developing world; and comparative international transportation and land use policies.

As concerns heighten over regional mobility, air quality, global climate change, energy, and equality of access, it is increasingly important that transportation and land use planners apply a multi-disciplinary approach to the field. Accordingly, students in the concentration are encouraged to augment the department’s transportation course offerings by designing a study program, in consultation with their advisor that involves course work in other fields and departments.

Students in the transportation planning concentration may seek to pursue the concurrent degree program in transportation planning and engineering. This option confers both the M.C.P. and the M.S. upon students who complete 60 units of course work, normally over five semesters. For further information about concurrent M.C.P./M.S. degree requirements, contact Professor Dan Chatman at dgc@berkeley.edu.

 

Concentration in Urban Design

(CY PLAN 24* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Karen Frick, Elizabeth Macdonald

Urban designers are concerned with how communities look, how they feel, and how they work for the people who use them. The urban design concentration is structured to give M.C.P. students the knowledge necessary to design urban built form in relation to social, environmental and economic concerns. “Design” is a key, operative word: urban designers design urban physical environments both directly through the design of actual projects and indirectly through plans. Work ranges in scale from small public spaces and streets to neighborhoods, citywide systems, and whole regions. The emphasis is typically on the public realm of cities, with central concerns being livability, identity, place-making, and the quality of everyday life. The concentration is equally concerned with conceptions of the “urban” and it draws on approaches from the disciplines of city planning, architecture, landscape architecture, as well as theories and methods from the social sciences with the intent of analyzing the urban condition and designing the urban realm. The studio experience is central to the urban design concentration. Working in teams and individually, students explore planning and design possibilities for urban places and learn to articulate and present their ideas in graphic form. Learning from local and global contexts, and how cities have been designed in the past, students envision possibilities for the future. Graduates in urban design work for public agencies largely at the local government level but also for government institutions at larger scales whose responsibilities include design issues. They work as well with private architectural, landscape, city planning, and community development firms whose clients are both public and private.

Students concentrating in urban design often have some design background, typically in architecture, landscape architecture, environmental design, or urban planning with a design emphasis, but a design background is not required.

A three- or four-year joint degree program in urban design is available with the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, where students receive both the M.C.P. and the M.L.A. degree. A joint degree is also available with the Department of Architecture, where students receive both M.C.P. and M.Arch degrees.