Summer [IN]STITUTE in Environmental Design


Program Description

[IN]CITY is a comprehensive six week introduction to the study and practice of urban planning through the lens of sustainability. By attending daily lectures and engaging in studio work, participants acquire the skills necessary to inform planning proposals. [IN]CITY assignments are real projects with actual clients who represent a diverse group of stakeholder organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. These organizations actively aim to influence sustainable planning policy at the local, county and regional levels.

[IN]CITY students develop in-depth recommendations, analyses and proposals for these client projects, which run the gamut of planning practice: housing and design, bike mobility and transportation, public health and environmental justice, community development and gentrification, urban design, climate action and art in public spaces. In doing so, participants have an opportunity to influence planning in the Bay Area by exploring institutional, political, social, economic and environmental policy challenges. 

[IN]CITY is geared towards post-baccalaureate students who are considering graduate study in city and regional planning. No previous planning or design experience is necessary to be eligible.

Summer Institute

"[IN]CITY was a fun and challenging experience! I learned valuable skills and information that enhanced my ability to change career paths from green building to community and economic development planning in a surprisingly short amount of time."

Nicole Jesslyn Agbayani, [IN]CITY Alumna

Daily Seminar

The daily seminar offers an overview of sustainability issues related to several different areas in sustainable urbanism including community development, housing, land use, transportation, urban design and water. Internationally-renowned faculty from CED’s Department of City and Regional Planning provide engaging lectures and discussions around these topics. During the seminar, students also participate in site visits and tours of cutting-edge projects and programs, and meet with the local officials involved.

Planning Studio Instruction

[IN]CITY's Planning Studio is designed to provide practical, hands-on experience. Past clients include the City of Berkeley, City of Oakland, Kala Institute, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, among others. Instructors with many years of experience in sustainability planning teach the studio. The studio products are designed for students to explore key policy challenges (institutional, political, social, economic, environmental, among others) and to develop tangible design and planning strategies.

To develop these strategies, students conduct data analysis related to demographics, land use, and transportation; learn city and street design and drawing techniques; and critically evaluate complex and sometimes contentious real-world policy and planning options. A key aspect of [IN]CITY is the practice of oral presentation skills through ongoing pin-ups, reviews, desk crits and presentations. These skills are crucial for a successful career in planning, where much time is spent communicating with non-technical audiences and working in multi-disciplinary teams.

Summer Institute

[IN]CITY definitely helped me clarify my understanding of what planners do. It also solidifed my interest in the field, because it gave me a preview of the type of people that I will meet in grad school!

2018 [IN]CITY survey respondent


Typical [IN]CITY Weekly Schedule

*Please note: students often dedicate evenings and weekends to Institute projects

9AM [IN]CITY Guest Lecture: "Resiliency & Sustainability in Planning" [IN]CITY Lecture: "Complete Streets" [IN]CITY Guest Lecture: "Information & Data Visualization" [IN]CITY Guest Lecture: "Place-Making in Urban Planning"  
10AM Site Visit: Complete Street Walking Tour
NOON Break Break Break Break
1PM Urban Analytique Pin Up Media: Adobe Illustration Media: Spatial Analysis Media: ArcGIS
3PM Studio: Working Session, Desk Crits  Studio: Precedent Study Presentation Practice Run
4PM Studio: Working Session, Desk Crits
5PM [IN]STITUTE Lecture Series  


2019 [IN]CITY Academic Lead

Alison Ecker

Jason Luger

Dr. Jason Luger is an urban geographer and city planning practitioner with a career in the public and private sectors in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. He is a lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, and has previously lectured in Urban Studies at San Francisco State University and in Urban Studies and the Masters in Asia Pacific Studies programs at the University of San Francisco. While completing his PhD at King's College London, Jason was an organizer of the UK-US Fulbright Summer Institute, and taught the summer course 'London and the British City'. 

Jason's academic research explores the way urban space is produced, and the relationship between urban space, politics, and identity (especially gendered and LGBTQ identities). He is also interested in the relationship between digital space and the built environment, and the interplay between 'local' and 'global' at different scales. His co-edited volume 'Art and the City' was published in 2017 (Routledge), and his research has been published in academic journals including Antipode, City, Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Progress in Human Geography, and Territory, Politics and Governance.

As a planner, Jason has worked in the fields of local and regional economic development and neighborhood revitalization. Most recently, Jason was hired by the Castro / Upper Market CBD in San Francisco to devise a retail strategy to combat rising retail vacancy rates. He has previously held roles at AECOM in San Francisco, SGS Economics and Planning in Melbourne, Australia, the Southeast England Development Agency, and others. 

He received his PhD from King's College London and the National University of Singapore (a joint degree), MA in Urban Regeneration and Development from the University of Manchester, and B.S. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. 



For me, cities are living laboratories, and learning about cities requires engagement beyond the classroom. There is no better way to learn the text of a city than to walk and observe. I also believe students of planning have an obligation to collaborate with community partners in a way that fosters mutual learning and the exchange of knowledge not only to, but also from, local communities. Through my affiliations with the American Cultures Center and the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley, I have tried to instill these approaches into my classes. I push my students not only to engage with the urban environment and their communities but also to challenge systems and pose critical questions; and to think globally. City Planning is a balance of theory and practice, informed by dreams and big ideas, but also by practical and applicable solutions. I also use and encourage a mix of methods, including visual, digital, quantitative and qualitative tools and frameworks.