Best Urban Planning Programs in the US: Cities are now a fact of life, having once been a very unusual aspect of human existence. In addition to living in a metropolis of some kind, the majority of people in the world now also call urban regions their home. Even people from remote areas travel to cities to conduct business and deal with the government.
Because of this, urban planning is currently one of the most significant degrees offered to college students. Planning an urban area’s design is precisely what it sounds like: it’s the process of doing so. This field includes anything from identifying the difference between residential and commercial zoning to monitoring roads to creating space for pedestrians.
People with degrees in urban planning go on to employment in the government, academia, public service, and more. They can carry out both practical labor, such as practically mapping out new highway routes, and intellectual work, such as researching the prejudices and laws that gave rise to big cities.
Because the subject has so many variations, it’s crucial to know what to anticipate while choosing a school.
Ten of the best urban planning programs in the country are ranked in this list. You can learn everything you need to know to design 21st-century living places by carefully reading this list.
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Best Urban Planning Programs in the US
1. Georgia State Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (Atlanta, GA)
Best Urban Planning Programs in the USGeorgia State University has been working to train students in public policy since 1972, but urban planning became an emphasis once the Andrew Young Department of Policy Studies was founded in 1996.
The goal of the Urban Studies Institute at the School is to address these issues. The Institute’s curriculum has a strong emphasis on accessibility and sustainability, seeking to improve city livability. In order to aid students in exploring these concerns, the Institute conducts research and offers classes.
These issues are covered in recent publications from the professor and student body. How Does an Expansion of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Affect Housing Supply? is one of the Institute’s articles. and “Beyond recovering? Urban resilience frames in the US and South American contexts are compared and contested.
The Young School of Policy Studies will be helpful to any student who wishes to enhance urban landscapes with support like this.
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning (Durham, NC)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning has been educating the top urban planners for 75 years. The department accomplishes this objective not only by hiring some of the top experts in the field, but also by holding events and disseminating research briefs.
The department’s remarkable and award-winning faculty’s contributions have helped it build this reputation. Dr. William Rohe, who has authored more than 70 academic articles on urban planning-related subjects, is one of the school’s instructors. He was recognized for his work by the Urban Affairs Association with the 2021 Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award.
The department’s students are prepared to add their own distinctive perspectives. The STRIDE Center has funded doctoral candidate Lindsay Martin Oluyede’s transportation research, which has drawn notice.
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3. Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs (Columbus, OH)
The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University is a great option for students who are concerned about social justice, environmental sustainability, and the future of our cities.
Glenn College not only offers a wide range of degrees for students interested in urban planning, from high school seminars through advanced degrees, but it also supports people working in the industry with professional development. Students gain from the expertise and viewpoint of recognized teachers while working under them in urban planning.
Yet, Glenn College’s Washington Programs could be its most noteworthy feature. Through these programs, students can obtain credentials and internships while working in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital.
These programs offer students a firsthand look at how laws that influence our communities are made, in addition to mentorship opportunities and access to a vast alumni network.
4. University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs (Minneapolis, MN)
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is one of the most esteemed institutions for urban planning and has the name of the former vice president of the United States.
Research institutions like the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice helped the Humphrey School establish its reputation. The Wilkins Center brings together dedicated academics and practitioners to investigate and confront racial and gender inequality as it manifests in the development of American cities.
Students that work with the Wilkins Center gain knowledge about how to make urban areas more open to all.
The Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy similarly assists scholars and students in urban planning. The Center offers students access to the concepts that will influence the cities of the future through a number of events and seminars in addition to classes and initiatives.
5. Portland State University Hatfield School of Government (Portland, OR)
Portland State University may not be as well-known as many of the other institutions on this list, but a visit to the Hatfield School of Government reveals that it is deserving of more respect. The Hatfield School uses its central Portland location to expose students to the difficulties and opportunities of contemporary urban development.
The institution also enables students to participate in cutting-edge field research. Leading journal The Hatfield School Journal of Public Affairs publishes research from academics all across the world. Articles give room for discussion, creativity, and criticism, preparing students to address the issues of the future.
The accomplishments of the faculty can be used to gauge the school’s success in part. The Portland Professor in Environmental and Natural Resources position was just chosen for Associate Professor Jennifer H. Allen. Professor Allen’s services to raising the standard of the school’s host city are honored by this position.
6. University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (Los Angeles, CA)
One of the oldest organizations on this list is the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, which was established in 1929 as the School of Citizenship and Public Administration. The Price School has the unique ability to chart the development of American cities as a result of its lengthy history.
The Price School has produced some of the field’s most successful former students.
In addition to receiving degrees from the Price School in 2010 and 2018, Mike Davis served as a state assemblyman for California’s 48th district. Davis now serves as the Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commission’s President Pro Tem.
Tim Leslie obtained his MPA from Price School in 1969 and used that training to work for the state as a public servant. Leslie held two terms as a state assemblyman, from 1986 to 1991 and 2000 to 2004, in addition to serving as a senator for California from 1991 to 2001.
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning (Cambridge, OH)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is regarded as one of the greatest STEM universities in the world and is well-known for its contributions to science and mathematics. So it shouldn’t be shocking that MIT employs the same standards of observation and investigation when looking at topics like urban planning.
The study and planning of international cities is approached scientifically by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Students and researchers at the department are rethinking the potential of urban places using cutting-edge modeling technology.
With a recent research that reimagined the responsibilities of pedestrians in cities, the Department put that strategy to use. The models they created provided ideas on how to better integrate the requirements of both pedestrians and traffic, drawing attention to the interdependence between the two.
8. UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs (Los Angeles, CA)
The Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles, is situated in one of the most populous cities in the world and offers students access to research space just outside its front door. This department, which was only established in 1994, offers everything a person might possibly need to tackle today’s urban planning concerns.
The Luskin School’s top priorities are coordinated with its significant research centers and programs.
Students, educators, and researchers striving to address issues brought on by contemporary transportation demands have a place to call home at the Institute for Transportation Studies.
Students are exposed to the most recent theories in the subject through their Wachs Lecture series, which invites academics from universities like Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, to present their work.
Students and community leaders are taught how to prioritize the needs of the populace in urban planning through the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. Residents are given a voice by the Center, which engages their lived experience with design principles.
9. Cleveland State University Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs (Cleveland, OH)
The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University has a stellar reputation, as evidenced by the alumni’s track record of community engagement.
Nickie Antonio has worked for the government continuously since receiving her MPA from Levin College in 1992. In addition to her work as a researcher and educator, Antonio was elected to the Lakewood City Council in 2005 and assumed office. She has served as the Ohio Senate’s 23rd district’s representative since 2019.
In 1999, Matt Zone earned a BS in urban studies. He currently holds two positions: president of the National League of Cities and council member for Cleveland.
This is merely a short selection of Levin College graduates. Everyone who completes the program is prepared to enhance the cities across our country.
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10. Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (New Brunswick, NJ)
Every institution on this list has wonderful attributes, but almost all rating sources concur that the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy deserves to be at the top. The Bloustein School is the go-to place for cutting-edge city planning techniques and continues to set the bar for how cities will look in the twenty-first century.
The Bloustein School’s collaboration with the Korea Development Institute’s School of Public Policy and Management is among its most noteworthy developments. By enrolling Korean students, the School promotes intercultural dialogue and welcomes fresh perspectives on everyday urban issues.
The Bloustein School also hosts initiatives like the Center for Urban Policy Research. The Center assists planners in looking toward the future by addressing the issues of the past through initiatives like its frequently cited Cost of Sprawl report.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an Urban Planner a Civil Engineer?
In order to envisage the future of cities, regions, and the state, urban planners collaborate with civil engineers. Despite the fact that the majority of urban planners are not civil engineers, it is crucial that they comprehend the interrelated problems. There is a considerable need for graduates in both sectors.
Do urban planners get a significant salary?
Urban and regional planners made an average of $78,500 per year in May 2021. The wage at which half of the employees in a profession made more money than that amount and half made less is known as the median wage.
Do math skills play a large part in urban planning?
Strong arithmetic abilities are necessary for analysis and forecasting, which is something students looking towards careers in urban planning will discover. Building models and presentations requires the use of computers.
What category of science does urban planning entails?
The fields of civil engineering, architecture, human geography, politics, social science, and design sciences all have a role in urban planning.
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