Technology is pervading society at a dramatically accelerating rate which includes education in the planning and design professions. Our department has been a national leader in this area since its potential was first recognized, but we have chosen to never focus purely on the technological aspects of computers. The faculty have endeavored to look at process and the ways that technology can be best applied as a tool in planning and design. As such, a concentration in the applications of information technology to planning and design helps prepare students to become managers and leaders: people who can see the larger picture and the role of technology within it, as opposed to CAD and GIS technicians.
This area of concentration is further broken down into three foci: applications, process, and implications. The first looks at the range of applications used by planners and designers. Much of our past success has been shaped by the practice of testing new technologies in real situations through research, instruction and outreach. The second, process, recognizes that technology is only a tool. We look at the ways computers can be best integrated into the design and planning process. Through our teaching, research, and service, we have developed methods that are appropriate for the problems at hand and provide students with applied knowledge which is passed on to the profession and general public through publications, presentations, CDs, and the world wide web. The last area, implications, recognizes that technology will have profound effects upon society. Of particular interest to this department are the ways that technology will manifest itself in changing land use patterns, especially with respect to the contemporary problem of suburban sprawl.