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M.S. Urban Planning

The Master of Science in Urban Planning is a two-year accredited professional degree actively engaged in the practice of urban planning. The program connects the study of the urban built environment with grounded analysis of socioeconomic and political conditions in order to explore the tensions that arise between market forces, civil society, and the goals of planning. The program pays special attention to the potential of urban analytics and the importance of advocating for social justice through planning. In fact, it is one of the first planning programs in the United States to engage data science and visualization alongside spatial analysis to tackle today’s urban problems and inform possible planning solutions for the future.
The Master of Science in Urban Planning program is rooted in a global outlook. By studying the impact of global linked processes (for example, immigration and climate change) locally, in our cities and communities, the program aims to foster new creative planning and policy approaches that will improve processes and outcomes in cities around the world. The curriculum emphasizes real-world problems and insists that planners are central to confronting them and to improving the life of urban dwellers—and in doing so, the program positions planners as social activists. The program’s graduates work in critical and leading roles in government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs.
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Curriculum
The Master of Science in Urban Planning program offers four concentrations: Built Environment, Community and Economic Development, International Planning and Development, and Urban Analytics. At the core of the program is a team-based studio project, which takes place in the first year of the curriculum, and a thesis, which is carried out throughout the second year. The Urban Planning studio is not a “capstone” project but a way of modeling what it means to incorporate intellectual questions into practical proposals. The studio revolves around a real client with a real-world issue. Students work as a group under the direction of faculty, producing critical and innovative analysis of socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions as well as stakeholder engagement. In many ways, the studio introduces, considers, and evaluates “best practices” in planning.

Recently, the program has significantly updated the contents of its seminar electives and core curriculum courses to introduce more knowledge related to the global dimensions of planning and more critical assessment on the use of spatial analytical tools. For electives, in particular, the program now offers new knowledge- and skill-based courses on data analytics, machine learning, social entrepreneurship in the urban built environment, infrastructure planning in a global context, inclusion and housing, mobility and accessibility, and healthy global cities. Students can also now take case-based practicums, grounded in a coherent conceptual framework, to better connect with modes of practice. Also, a number of half-semester practicum courses are being offered on critical planning issues, including residential planning in a global context, economic development for social inclusion, global practices in disaster planning, transit in resilient urban systems, and mega projects in global cities.

The curriculum has shifted to further integrate studio and seminars—with seasoned practitioners teaming up with more academically-oriented faculty to better unite theory and practice. The program has also emphasized new collaborations with the design faculty to offer studios and courses that enable substantive collaboration among planning and design students.

Studios
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
Jitendra Bajpai
Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Clarisa Bencomo
Anthony Borelli
Jason Brody
Jennifer Chang
Clara Chung
Vin Cipolla
Ryan Devlin
Charles Euchner
Peter Flamm
Flores A. Forbes
Ebru Gencer
Maxine Griffith
Boyeong Hong
Leon Hovsepian
Purnima Kapur
David Karnovsky
Rebecca Karp
Adam Lubinsky
Peter Marcotullio
Ariella Maron
Jonathan Martin
Victoria Mason-Ailey
Thomas Matarazzo
Andrew McGee
Brendan McLaughlin
Leah Meisterlin
Andrea Rizvi
Carsten Rodin
Francesco Rossini
Kaz Sakamoto
Ethel Sheffer
Kairos Shen
Howard Slatkin
Valerie Stahl
Jamie Torres Springer
Graham Trelstad
Jose Luis Vallejo
Anthony Vanky
Rachel Weinberger
Adam Weinstein
Kate Wittels
Douglas Woodward
Thomas Wright

Fall 2019 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla4008‑1 Fall 2019
History and Theory of Planning
Ryan Devlin REQUIRED 1ST YEAR
114 AVERY HALL; 203 FAY, 204 FAY , 320M FAY,
M 10 AM - 12 PM ; 12 PM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41356
Pla4022‑1 Fall 2019
Fundamentals of Urban Digital Design
Jennifer Chang, Andrew McGee
204 FAYERWEATHER; UP COMPUTER LAB
F 2 PM - 4 PM; LAB F 4 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41512
Pla4050‑1 Fall 2019
UP Elective Internship
Mike Montilla with approval only-via application
N/A
FULL SEMESTER
1.5 Points
41513
Pla4208‑1 Fall 2019
Planning Methods
Malo Hutson, Valerie Stahl REQUIRED 1ST YEAR
209 FAYERWEATHER
W 9 AM -11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41413
Pla4209‑1 Fall 2019
Planning Methods Lab
UP COMPUTER LAB
M 2 PM - 4 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41357
Pla4209‑2 Fall 2019
Planning Methods Lab
UP COMPUTER LAB
M 4 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41358
Pla4209‑3 Fall 2019
Planning Methods Lab
UP COMPUTER LAB
TH 4 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41359
Pla4577‑1 Fall 2019
Geographic Information Systems
Leah Meisterlin
113 AVERY
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41514
Pla4578‑1 Fall 2019
GIS Lab I
Kaz Sakamoto
UP COMPUTER LAB
TU 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41360
Pla4578‑2 Fall 2019
GIS Lab II
Clara Chung
UP COMPUTER LAB
TH 6 PM - 8 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41361
Pla4578‑3 Fall 2019
GIS Lab for Architecture and Urban Design
Carsten Rodin CAP 20
202 FAYERWEATHER
W 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
0 Points
41362
Pla6014‑1 Fall 2019
Public Space in the Private Realm
Ethel Sheffer
300 BUELL SOUTH
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
10315
Pla6088‑1 Fall 2019
Introduction to International Development
Ryan Devlin, Clarisa Bencomo
204 FAYERWEATHER
TU 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41417
Pla6217‑1 Fall 2019
Techniques of Project Evaluation
Moshe Adler
204 FAYERWEATHER
TH 2 PM - 4 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41533
Pla6330‑1 Fall 2019
Site Planning & Support Systems
Graham Trelstad
204 FAYERWEATHER
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41367
Pla6434‑1 Fall 2019
Introduction to Transportation Planning
Rachel Weinberger
115 AVERY HALL
TU 3 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41423
Pla6526‑1 Fall 2019
Chinese Urbanism in Global Context
Weiping Wu
300 BUELL SOUTH
W 3 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41528
Pla6586‑1 Fall 2019
Writing the City
Charles Euchner
204 FAYERWEATHER
M 4 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41535
PLA6617‑1 Fall 2019
Resilient Planning Practicum: A Green New Deal for Appalachia
Thaddeus Pawlowski
WARE LOUNGE + 655 SCHERMERHORN
T 3 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41426
PLA6619‑1 Fall 2019
Urban Informatics I
Anthony Vanky
204 FAYERWEATHER
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41371
Pla6641‑1 Fall 2019
Global Practices & Policy in Urban Risk, Resilience & Crises
Ebru Gencer
204 FAYERWEATHER
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
SESSION B
1.5 Points
41551
PLA6642‑1 Fall 2019
Metropolitan Planning
Thomas Wright
209 FAYERWEATHER
TH 4 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41552
PLA6643‑1 Fall 2019
Community Outreach & Engagement: A Harlem Practicum
Maxine Griffith, Victoria Mason-Ailey, Flores A. Forbes
209 FAYERWEATHER
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41553
PLA6645‑1 Fall 2019
Prototyping for Urban Policy & Decision-Making
Clara Chung, Kaz Sakamoto
UP COMPUTER LAB
M 6 PM - 8 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41554
PLA6646‑1 Fall 2019
Affordable Housing in High Demand Cities
Purnima Kapur, Adam Weinstein
204 FAYERWEATHER
W 5 PM - 7 PM
SESSION A
1.5 Points
41555
PLA6647‑1 Fall 2019
Project Management: From Idea to Execution
Rebecca Karp
204 FAYERWEATHER
TH 9 AM - 11 AM
SESSION B
1.5 Points
41556
PLA6648‑1 Fall 2019
Delivering Urban Public Infrastructure: Practicum on Industrialized Cities
Jamie Torres Springer
204 FAYERWEATHER
TH 6 PM - 8 PM
SESSION A
1.5 Points
41557
PLA6649‑1 Fall 2019
Planning and the New Green Deal: A Practicum
Douglas Woodward, Ariella Maron Syllabus
204 FAYERWEATHER
M 1 PM - 3 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
0
Pla6918‑1 Fall 2019
Thesis I/Capstone I Workshop
Lance Freeman REQUIRED 2nd YR
209 FAYERWEATHER
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41516
A6510‑1 Fall 2019
Neighborhood Preservation and Zoning
Carol Clark
300 BUELL NORTH
TU 6 PM - 8 PM
SESSION A
1.5 Points
41544
A6767‑1 Fall 2019
Preservation Planning and Policy
Erica Avrami
505 AVERY HALL
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41472
Pla6909‑1 Fall 2019
Advanced Studio III - Joint Historic Preservation/Urban Planning Studio
Erica Avrami, William Raynolds
300 BUELL NORTH
TU 2 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
41429
Pla6925‑1 Fall 2019
Advanced Research I
Weiping Wu BY APPOINTMENT
NA
NA
FULL SEMESTER
2-3 Points
41517
A6708‑1 Fall 2019
Sustainable Retrofits
Michael Adlerstein
655 SCHER- CONSERVA LAB
W 11 AM- 1 PM
SESSION B
1.5 Points
41470
A4892‑1 Fall 2019
Data Visualization for Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities
Jia Zhang All GSAPP Interdisciplinary
408 AVERY HALL
F 9 AM -11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
15270
A6785‑1 Fall 2019
Theory of City Form
Vishaan Chakrabarti All GSAPP Interdisciplinary
209 FAYERWEATHER
F 11 AM -1 PM
FULL SEMSTER
3 Points
41412
A4861‑1 Fall 2019
Footprint: Carbon and Design
David Benjamin
115 AVERY
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
17879
A6783‑1 Fall 2019
Narrative Urbanism: Strategic Storytelling For Designers and Planners
Cassim Shepard All GSAPP Interdisciplinary
115 AVERY HALL
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
41474
Introduction to Columbia’s Urban Planning Program

BirdyBird by Ri Le and Suprima Bhele completed during the Urban Informatics II course led by Assistant Professor Anthony Vanky. Read more about the project here.

Video produced by Urban Planning students as part of the course “Hong Kong as a Palimpsest: Transit-Induced Redevelopment in To Kwa Wan” led by Weiping Wu and Jose Luis Vallejo.
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

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