Historically, cities are geographic areas that have evolved into centers of civic, political and cultural life. Over the centuries they have become more densely settled and increasingly heterogeneous both in terms of the ethnicity and economic stability of residents. This variety of life circumstances of urban dwellers requires that limited resources be allocated for many more varied purposes than ever before. At the turn of the 21st century we witness increased urbanization worldwide, much of it minimally guided or controlled. Similarly, we find many existing urban areas in a serious state of deterioration, physically, economically and socially. This concentration focuses upon the role of landscape architects and urban planners in working with urban residents, administrators and elected officials to help define the problems and then create the most appropriate policies and designs to ensure a socially just, economically and environmentally healthy, and aesthetically pleasing environment.
The Urban Planning, Policy and Design concentration brings together scholarly research, teaching and outreach concerned with the viability of towns, cities, metropolitan and suburban areas. Working with an eye toward solutions that are responsive to residents, this area of emphasis is concerned with ensuring the quality of the cultural and natural environments, economic opportunity, environmental protection and widespread democratic participation. Some specific areas of teaching, research, creative design work and outreach that support this concern include analyses of the structure and function of urban settlements; the design and physical planning of urban sites and neighborhoods; the history of urban forms, built environment and planning; the theory of urban planning, policy and design and analysis; conservation of natural resources and social and cultural heritages; planning and designing for social and cultural change; roles of government, citizens and multiple stakeholders; social justice and economic welfare; and citizen (content is chopped off on original web site.)