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
Jessie Braden
Eldad Gothelf
Nicholas Klein
Floyd Lapp
Peter Marcotullio
Jonathan Martin
Leah Meisterlin
Lee Miller
Kaz Sakamoto
Andrew Scherer
Ethel Sheffer
Kairos Shen
Belinda Tato
Marcela Tovar-Restrepo
Graham Trelstad
Jose Luis Vallejo
Jeremy White
Laura Wolf-Powers

Spring 2017 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4329‑1 Spring 2017
Belfast Joint Planning/Studio Seminar
Richard Plunz History/Theory - Urban (CAP 8 - by application)
323 M Fayerweather
F 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A4892‑1 Spring 2017
Data Visualization For Architecture, Urbanism and The Humanities
Juan Saldarriaga All GSAPP Interdisciplinary, GSAS
600 Avery Hall
F 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
PLA6613‑1 Spring 2017
Social Entrepreneurship and the Urban Built Environment
Laura Wolf-Powers, Kairos Shen Comm/Econ
600 Avery Hall
TU 3 PM - 5 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4010‑1 Spring 2017
Planning for Urban Energy Systems
Peter Marcotullio Built Env
408 Avery Hall
TH 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4022‑1 Spring 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 - 6PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4035‑1 Spring 2017
Negotiations For Planners
Lee Miller Methods
300 Buell North
W 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Ses A 1/19-3/4
3 Points
Pla4050‑1 Spring 2017
UP/HP Elective Internship
By Appointment
1.5 Points
Pla4304‑1 Spring 2017
Introduction to Housing
Lance Freeman Comm/Econ
412 Avery Hall
M 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4320‑1 Spring 2017
Urban Design for Planners
Justin Moore Built Env
201 Fayerweather
Th 11 AM - 1PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla4620‑1 Spring 2017
Public Financing Of Urban Development
Richard Froehlich Comm/Econ
300 Buell South
M 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6065‑1 Spring 2017
Envir Impact Assessment
Graham Trelstad Built Env
200 Buell Hall
F 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6067‑1 Spring 2017
On Spatial Exclusion and Planning
Hiba Bou Akar Int'L/Built Env
300 Buell North
Th 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6108‑1 Spring 2017
Land Use Planning
Jonathan Martin Built Env
300 Buell North
F 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6111‑1 Spring 2017
Digital Restructuring of Urban Space
Leah Meisterlin Analytics
200 Buell North
Tu 3 PM - 5 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6113‑1 Spring 2017
Exploring Urban Data with Machine Learning
Kaz Sakamoto Analytics (CAP- 20)
202 Fayerweather
Tu 7 PM - 9 PM
SES B 3/7-4/22
1.5 Points
Pla6121‑1 Spring 2017
Practicum: Residential Planning in Global Cities
Kate Dunham INT'L/Built Env (CAP 20)
200 Buell Hall
Tu 5 PM - 7 PM
Session A 1/17-3/3
1.5 Points
Pla6217‑1 Spring 2017
Techniques of Project Evaluation
Moshe Adler Comm/Econ
200 Buell Hall
Tu 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6262‑1 Spring 2017
Complete Streets Seminar
Nick Klein Built Env
201 Fayerweather
Th 4 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6700‑1 Spring 2017
Re Finance + Development
Stephen Pearlman Comm/Econ
200 Buell Hall
W 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6911‑2 Spring 2017
Belfast, Ireland City Center in Dev Context
Richard Plunz, Nick Klein UP First Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 323 Fayerweather
F 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6911‑3 Spring 2017
Redevelopment Of Brooklyn Wholesale Market
Eldad Gothelf UP First Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 201 Fayerweather
M 4 PM - 8 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6911‑4 Spring 2017
Improving Airport Access and Environmental Conditions
Floyd Lapp UP First Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 201 Fayerweather
W 2 PM-6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6911‑5 Spring 2017
Designing A New Master Plan For Chinatown
Ethel Sheffer, Douglas Woodward UP First Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 201 Fayerweather
Th 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6911‑6 Spring 2017
Rio: Design Thinking For Health Urban Environment
Belinda Tato, Jose Luis Vallejo UP First Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 201 Fayerweather
F 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
Pla6919‑1 Spring 2017
Urban Planning Thesis II
Robert Beauregard Required 2nd Yr
By Appointment
Full Semester
3 Points
Pla6926‑1 Spring 2017
Advanced Research II
Weiping Wu Elective
By Appointment
Full Semester
3 Points
Dual and Joint 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