M.S. Urban Planning

The Columbia University Master of Science in Urban Planning is an accredited two-year program of professional education. Actively engaged in practice, our curriculum connects the study of the urban built environment with grounded analysis of socioeconomic and political conditions. We explore the tensions between market forces, civil society, and the goals of planning, paying special attention to the role of urban analytics and the quest for social justice. Students learn to evaluate and shape efforts to develop and enhance cities and their communities in ways that foster healthy and sustainable living.

Located in New York City, our program promotes a global outlook. We look to planning issues locally and internationally for studio projects, classroom case studies, and thesis research. By studying the impact of global linked processes (e.g. immigration and climate change) as well as local conditions on cities and communities, we think creatively about planning and policy approaches to improve processes and outcomes in cities around the world.

Planning education promotes the redistribution of resources and social justice in cities as much as the creation of wealth. Our students connect challenges of urban development, sustainability and equity with the political and socioeconomic conditions that define them. They learn to engage and assess the increasing abundance and availability of data to address urban problems and inform planning efforts. Throughout the curriculum, the emphasis is on real-world problems and how planners can act to improve the lives of urban residents.

Being part of GSAPP, our program connects with design, preservation, and real estate faculty and professionals to add to ideas and techniques developed by planners and social activists. We also offer a range of curriculum and dual-degree options within and beyond GSAPP for students interested in additional content expertise and skills. Our graduates work in critical and leading roles in government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs.


The faculty shares a core pedagogic belief that the best professional education takes place in an environment of learning by doing, reinforced by classroom work and group projects. Planners must have a thorough understanding of the economic, social, political, legal, and physical forces that shape the built environment.

Curriculum offerings equip students with familiarity with the range of analytic and research techniques used by planners, practical skills through a semester-long studio project and other class projects, and competency in both general and specialized knowledge of planning. Students are required to choose at least one concentration area among four options: Built Environment, Community and Economic Development, International Planning and Development, and Urban Analytics. Students take a minimum of four courses and 12 points in a concentration.

In the Urban Planning studio, there is a real client with a real-world issue that will be analyzed by students working as a team under the direction of faculty. The deliverables that results will reflect critical analysis of socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions as well as stakeholder engagement, and encourage students to consider "best practices" in planning and innovative thinking. Studio takes place in the spring of the students' first year, and is thus not a "capstone" project but a way of integrating classroom learning with practical experience early in the students' education.
Current Faculty
Moshe Adler
Clara Chung
Charles Euchner
Eldad Gothelf
Floyd Lapp
Adam Lubinsky
Peter Marcotullio
Jonathan Martin
Leah Meisterlin
Lee Miller
Moira O'Neill
Kathleen O'Nieal
Kaz Sakamoto
Ethel Sheffer
Kairos Shen
Marcela Tovar-Restrepo
Graham Trelstad
Jose Luis Vallejo
Jeremy White
Douglas Woodward

Fall 2017 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla4008‑1 Fall 2017
History and Theory of Planning
Hiba Bou Akar Required 1st Year
114 Avery, 201 Fayerweather, 200 Buell, 300 Buell North
M 10 AM - 12 PM, 12 PM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4022‑1 Fall 2017
Fundamentals of Urban Digital Design
Alejandro de Castro Mazarro Analytics
201 Fayerweather, UP Computer Lab
F 2 PM - 4 PM; LAB F 4 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4050‑1 Fall 2017
UP Elective Internship
Margaret Wiryaman Elective, Open to UP 2nd Year with approval only (via application)
Full Semester
1.5 Points
Pla4208‑1 Fall 2017
Planning Methods
Malo Hutson Required 1st Year (One lab is required)
114 Avery Hall
W 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4209‑2 Fall 2017
Planning Methods Lab 2
Required 1st Year, Cap 18
UP Computer Lab
M 4 PM - 6 PM
0 Points
Pla4209‑3 Fall 2017
Planning Methods Lab 3
Required 1st Year, Cap 18
UP Computer Lab
TH 4 PM - 6 PM
0 Points
Pla4209‑1 Fall 2017
Planning Methods Lab 1
Required 1st Year, Cap 18
UP Computer Lab
M 2 PM - 4 PM
0 Points
Pla4340‑1 Fall 2017
Sustainable Zoning + Land Use Regulations
Jonathan Martin Built Environment
300 Buell South
F 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4387‑1 Fall 2017
Public Private Partnerships, Privatization + The New City Government
Moshe Adler Community and Economic Development
505 Avery
Th 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4577‑1 Fall 2017
Intro to GIS
Leah Meisterlin Required for UP 1st year
113 Avery
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4578‑1 Fall 2017
Intro to GIS Lab 1
Jeremy White Required for 1st Year, CAP 18
UP Computer Lab
TU 7 PM - 9 PM
0 Points
Pla4578‑2 Fall 2017
Intro to GIS Lab 2
Kaz Sakamoto Required for 1st Year, Cap 18
UP Computer Lab
W 6 PM - 8 PM
0 Points
Pla4578‑3 Fall 2017
Intro to GIS Lab 3
Clara Chung Required for 1st Year, Cap 18
UP Computer Lab
TH 6 PM - 8 PM
0 Points
Pla4578‑4 Fall 2017
Intro to GIS Lab For Architecture & Urban Design
Grga Basic Visual Studies for M.Arch and UD, Cap 20
202 Fayerweather
TU 6 PM - 8 PM
0 Points
Pla4579‑1 Fall 2017
Intro to Environmental Planning
Peter Marcotullio Built Environment
408 Avery
TH 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6014‑1 Fall 2017
Public Space in the Private Realm
UP_Sheffer_Abdulla Al Shehhi_Sinae Lee_Yifei Ma_Kaylee Moon_Cameron Robertson_Brandon Robinson_Jeongwon Seo_Liheng Sun_SP17_01_Diagram.jpg
Ethel Sheffer Built Environment
300 Avery
Tu 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6088‑1 Fall 2017
Introduction to International Development
Marcela Tovar-Restrepo, Alejandro de Castro Mazarro International
201 Fayerweather
Tu 5 PM - 7 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6107‑1 Fall 2017
Policies and Outcomes: Inclusion and Housing in NYC
Eldad Gothelf Community and Economic Development
201 Fayerweather
M 6 PM - 8 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6330‑1 Fall 2017
Site Planning & Support Systems
Graham Trelstad Built Environment
115 Avery
F 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6434‑1 Fall 2017
Intro to Transportation Planning
Floyd Lapp Built Environment
300 Buell South
TU 3 PM - 5 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6526‑1 Fall 2017
Chinese Urbanism in Global Context
Weiping Wu International
300 Buell South
W 3 PM - 5 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6573‑1 Fall 2017
Community Development Planning
Moira O'Neill Community & Economic Development
200 Buell Hall
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6574‑1 Fall 2017
Intro to Design Thinking Method: Facilitating Urban Planning Innovation
Lee Miller, Kathleen O'Nieal UP Elective
504 Avery
TH 7 PM - 9 PM
Ses A= 9/5-10/20
1.5 Points
Pla6575‑1 Fall 2017
Prototyping With Open Data
Kaz Sakamoto, Clara Chung Analytics
UP Computer Lab
M 6 PM - 8 PM
Ses B= 10/23-12/1
1.5 Points
Pla6581‑1 Fall 2017
Practicum: Planning and Mega Projects in Global Cities
Adam Lubinsky UP Elective; Community & Economic Development
504 Avery
Th 7 PM - 9 PM
Ses B= 10/23-12/1
1.5 Points
Pla6586‑1 Fall 2017
Writing the City
Charles Euchner UP Elective
300 Buell South
W 5 PM - 7 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
PLA6617‑1 Fall 2017
Design and Planning for Risk, Crisis and Disaster
Thaddeus Pawlowski Built Environment
200 Buell
TU 3 PM - 5 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6875‑1 Fall 2017
Joint Architecture Seminar
Marcela Tovar-Restrepo, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín Built Environment
201 Fayerweather
TH 2 PM - 4 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6918‑1 Fall 2017
Thesis I Workshop
Lance Freeman Required 2nd year
Ware Lounge
W 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6930‑1 Fall 2017
Quantitative Methods
Lance Freeman Analytics
412 Avery, UP Computer Lab
Th 11 AM - 1 PM, TH 2 PM - 4 PM (Lab)
Full Semester
3 Points
A6795‑1 Fall 2017
Law For Preservationists
Will Cook Elective
300 Avery
M 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6909‑1 Fall 2017
Advanced Studio 3: Joint HP/UP Studio
Erica Avrami Advanced Studio
300 Buell North
TU 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6925‑1 Fall 2017
Advanced Research I
Weiping Wu By Appointment
Full Semester
2-3 Points
A6708‑1 Fall 2017
Sustainable Retrofits
Michael Adlerstein Elective
408 Avery
W 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Recent News
Dual Degree Programs

M.S. in Urban Planning and Master of Architecture

M.S. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Historic Preservation

M.S. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Real Estate Development

M.S. in Urban Planning and Business

M.S. in Urban Planning and International Affairs

M.S. in Urban Planning and Law

M.S. in Urban Planning and Social Work

M.S. in Urban Planning and Public Health