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M.S. Urban Planning

The Master of Science in Urban Planning is a two-year accredited professional degree. Our program takes a comparative, global perspective to urban planning, centering social justice and critical practice. It connects the study of the urban built environment with grounded analysis of socioeconomic and political conditions to inform planning practice and praxis toward social, racial, and climate justice. We prepare students to confront and break down structures and practices of oppression rooted in class inequality, racism, and sexism. By studying the impact of global processes (such as immigration, climate change, and public health) on cities, neighborhoods, and communities—across the Global North and Global South—the program aims to foster new, creative planning and policy approaches that will improve processes and outcomes in cities around the world.
The program pays close attention to a range of methodological approaches bringing together urban analytics, grounded field research, and community engagement to address real-world planning issues. It builds on our record as 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 planning solutions for the future. Our graduates work in critical and leading roles in government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs.
IMPORTANT LINKS AND INFORMATION

For more information about the program, please email the Program Manager: Emily Junker.

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 are a team-based studio course, which takes place in the first year, and a thesis or professional capstone, which is carried out throughout the second year. The Urban Planning Studio is 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 a range of scenarios in approaching complex problems.

Recently, the program has significantly updated the contents of its electives and core curriculum courses to introduce more knowledge related to the global dimensions of planning, more systematic understanding of racism and spatial inequality, and more critical assessment on the use of analytical tools. For electives, in particular, the program now offers new, knowledge- and skill-based courses on data analytics, machine learning, equitable climate action, adaptation to climate change, urban mobility and accessibility in a global context, inclusion and housing, and healthy global cities. Students can also take case-based practicums, grounded in a coherent conceptual framework, to better connect with modes of practice. In addition, a number of half-semester practicum courses are offered, including residential planning in a global context, urban public infrastructure, project management, affordable housing in high-demand cities, and mega projects in global cities.

The curriculum has shifted to further integrate studios 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 between 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 resulting deliverables reflect critical analyses of socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions as well as stakeholder engagement, and encourage students to consider innovative practices in planning and critical 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
Jitendra Bajpai
Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Matthew Bauer
Clarisa Bencomo
Anthony Borelli
Calvin Brown
Teresa Caldeira
Clara Chung
Vin Cipolla
André Corrêa d'Almeida
Ryan Devlin
Ubaldo Escalante
Roberta Fennessy
Peter Flamm
Flores A. Forbes
Adam Freed
Daniel Froehlich
Ebru Gencer
Maxine Griffith
Boyeong Hong
Rebecca Karp
Emily Kurtz
Nora Libertun
Jeffrey Lin
Peter Marcotullio
Ariella Maron
Jonathan Martin
Victoria Mason-Ailey
Kevin McQueen
Leah Meisterlin
Nilda Mesa
Deborah Helaine Morris
Olivia Moss
Kate Owens
John Reddick
Kaz Sakamoto
Jeffrey Shumaker
Howard Slatkin
Kurt Steinhouse
Anna Stokes
Adam Tanaka
Jamie Torres Springer
Graham Trelstad
Jose Luis Vallejo
Rachel Weinberger
Kate Wittels
Douglas Woodward
Thomas Wright

Spring 2022 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla4010‑1 Spring 2022
Planning For Urban Energy Systems
Peter Marcotullio
412 AVERY
TH 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14389
Pla4050‑1 Spring 2022
UP Elective Internship
Emily Junker
BY APPOINTMENT
FULL SEMESTER
1.5 Points
14390
Pla4151‑1 Spring 2022
Economics for Planners
Jeffrey Lin
114 AVERY
M 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14391
Pla4320‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Design For Planners
Jeffrey Shumaker
204 FAYERWEATHER
W 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14398
PLA4881‑1 Spring 2022
Practicum: Planning the Cultural Space
Vin Cipolla, Peter Flamm
300 BUELL SOUTH or 114 AVERY
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
15211
Pla6052‑1 Spring 2022
Planning Law
Kurt Steinhouse
114 AVERY
TH 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14399
Pla6065‑1 Spring 2022
Environmental Impact Assessment
Graham Trelstad
505 AVERY
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14401
Pla6067‑1 Spring 2022
On Spatial Exclusion and Planning
Hiba Bou Akar
200 BUELL NORTH
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14403
PLA6104‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Infrastructure Services & Mobility Global Context
Jitendra Bajpai
204 FAYERWEATHER
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14404
Pla6108‑1 Spring 2022
Land Use Planning
Jonathan Martin
200 BUELL NORTH
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14405
Pla6113‑1 Spring 2022
Exploring Urban Data with Machine Learning
Boyeong Hong
202 FAYERWEATHER
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14407
Pla6121‑1 Spring 2022
Practicum: Residential Planning in Global Cities
Kate Dunham
204 FAYERWEATHER
M 11 AM - 1 PM
SES A
1.5 Points
14409
Pla6232‑1 Spring 2022
Advanced Spatial Analysis
Alanna Browdy, Daniel Froehlich
203 FAYERWEATHER
W 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14414
Pla6269‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Economic Development
Matthew Bauer, Calvin Brown
203 FAYERWEATHER
TH 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14415
Pla6605‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Informality
Ryan Devlin
203 FAYERWEATHER
TU 3 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14462
PLA6613‑1 Spring 2022
Built Environment Disruption: Partnerships & Urban Technology
Adam Tanaka, Kate Wittels
204 FAYERWEATHER
TU 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14463
PLA6643‑1 Spring 2022
Community Outreach & Engagement: A Harlem Practicum
Flores A. Forbes, John Reddick
204 FAYERWEATHER
M 3 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14510
PLA6647‑1 Spring 2022
Project Management: From Idea to Execution
Rebecca Karp
412 AVERY
M 11 AM - 1 PM
SES B
1.5 Points
14512
PLA6652‑1 Spring 2022
Governance & Action for Inclusive Cities
Bernadette Baird-Zars, Nora Libertun
204 FAYERWEATHER
M 1 PM - 3 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14514
PLA6773‑1 Spring 2022
Climate Adaptation in Cities
Adam Freed
300 BUELL SOUTH
TU 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14515
Pla6911‑1 Spring 2022
Planning Studio
Hugo Sarmiento, Deborah Helaine Morris
204 FAYERWEATHER
F 1 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
15355
Pla6911‑2 Spring 2022
Planning Studio
Maxine Griffith, Nilda Mesa
204 FAYERWEATHER
W 3 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
15359
Pla6911‑3 Spring 2022
Planning Studio
Anthony Borelli, Sybil Wa
203 FAYERWEATHER
W 3 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
15364
Pla6911‑4 Spring 2022
Planning Studio
Ryan Devlin, Jose Luis Vallejo
200 BUELL NORTH
F 1 PM - 5 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
15366
Pla6911‑5 Spring 2022
Joint Architecture Planning Studio
Pedro Rivera
M + TH 1:30 PM - 6:30 PM
FULL SEMESTER
9 Points
15372
Pla6919‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Planning Thesis/Capstone II
Weiping Wu
BY APPOINTMENT
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14519
Pla6926‑1 Spring 2022
Advanced Research II
Emily Junker
412 AVERY
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14520
A4890‑1 Spring 2022
Conflict Urbanism
Laura Kurgan
300 BUELL SOUTH
W 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14267
A4063‑1 Spring 2022
Points Unknown: Cartographic Narratives
Juan Saldarriaga, Michael Krisch
WARE LOUNGE
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14302
A4135‑1 Spring 2022
Urban Ecology + Design
Gena Wirth, Matt Palmer
311 FAYERWEATHER
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
15539
A4407‑1 Spring 2022
Methods in Spatial Research
Dare Brawley
WARE LOUNGE
F 9 AM - 11 AM
SES A
1.5 Points
15214
A4861‑1 Spring 2022
Footprint: Carbon and Design
David Benjamin
409 AVERY
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14350
A6886‑1 Spring 2022
Building the Engine: Industry + the African Urban Agenda
Fatou Dieye
409 AVERY
F 9 AM - 1 PM
SES B
3 Points
15213
A4839 Spring 2022
Building Conditions Assessment
Kyle Normandin
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
M 2 PM - 5 PM (3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18)
SES B
1.5 Points
14366

Introduction to Columbia’s Urban Planning Program

Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS)

Fall 2021 Lectures in Planning Series
Willow Lung Amam
October 19, 2021

Student Work

“Crisscrossing the Park” by Elaine Hsieh
Completed during the Spring 2020 Urban Informatics II course led by Anthony Vanky. Read more about the project here.
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