City + Regional Planning


Master of City Planning

Concentration in Environmental Planning and Healthy Cities

(CY PLAN 25* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Charisma Acey, Stephen Collier, Jason Corburn, John Radke, Jennifer Wolch 

The concentration in environmental planning and healthy cities is designed to give M.C.P. students the broad knowledge necessary to analyze pressing urban environmental and health challenges, such as climate change, natural resource depletion, access to basic services and infrastructure, as well as ecologic and human health risks. The concentration emphasizes the theory and practice behind the related ideas of urban sustainability, environmental risk and justice, political ecology and human health. Students will study urban and regional environmental and human health issues in a comparative perspective, with a focus on both US and international settings. The concentration introduces students to the relationships between natural, built and social environments in cities, as well as the local, regional and global impacts of urban ecosystems and the political institutions that aim to manage these environments. The emphasis on healthy cities engages in the practices of urban public health, recognizing that planners are increasingly required to analyze and act upon how the urban environment influences human well-being.

Joint degree programs 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.) are available for interested students.

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

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

Faculty Advisors

Sai Balakrishnan,Teresa Caldeira, Karen Chapple, Carol Galante, Ben Metcalf, Carolina Reid

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 Policy and Planning

(CY PLAN 21* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Daniel Chatman, Karen Frick, Marta González, Daniel Rodríguez

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.


Concentration in Urban Design

(CY PLAN 24* course series)

Faculty Advisors

Zachary Lamb, 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.