The Concentration in Urban Studies is concerned with the quality of life in towns, cities, and metropolitan areas. Environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities may be created through careful economic development, control of sprawl, building construction and historic preservation, expanded recreational and cultural opportunities, green infrastructure, improved housing, preserved open space, not to mention political reform and environmental justice. The professional urbanist works towards ensuring the traditional role of cities in enriching the lives of those who inhabit them.
Closely aligned with urban planning, the Urban Studies concentration allows students to explore creative and systematic approaches for addressing the environmental, economic, and social issues related to towns, cities, and larger regions. For instance, the urban planner will see shifts in the national marketplace that might boost local employment and bring new customs and ideas. Improvements, once made, must be managed efficiently, and to this end planners are constantly reviewing government policy and management strategies. The Urban Studies concentration introduces students to the theoretical, historical, social, political, and technical dimensions of planning sustainable urban places.
Theoretical and practical knowledge will require familiarity within these areas:
- City as a work of art: issues in urban design, historic preservation and conservation, and the history of city form.
- Urban sociology: understanding the nature of social groups based on age, abilities, race, ethnicity and class, as well as issues related to poverty, homelessness, public safety, recreation and life on the street.
- Environmental quality: understanding of green infrastructure, storm water management, air quality, impacts of development on ecologically sensitive areas, and protection of urban open space.
- Economics: issues related to budgets and tax bases, industrial and commercial development, tourism, state and federal fiscal policies, and impacts of development on communities.
- Legal and political aspects of urban life: understanding of zoning and building codes, the interaction of the city, state and federal legislation, minority representation, funding of social and education services, and genesis of current policies.
Students must take a total of 9 classes in their area of concentration.
Available Urban Studies concentration courses vary from semester to semester