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From the Chair

From the Chair

The Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning educates students to be change-oriented leaders in the planning profession and academy; conducts research informed by a commitment to improve the fairness, prosperity, and environmental and social sustainability of neighborhoods, cities, and regions; and serves the academic and broader communities in ways that harness the skills and commitments of its faculty, students, and staff.

Urban and regional planning is the profession that strives to improve the environmental quality, economic vitality, and social equity of places. Planners seek to improve alternatives to sprawling, auto-dependent areas; to revitalize downtowns and inner-city neighborhoods; to develop cities and towns in a manner that protects the environment; to create lively, interesting neighborhoods and commercial areas; and to foster sustainable development in the world's poorest countries. Planning is a systematic, creative approach to addressing social, physical, and economic problems. Planners identify problems and opportunities, devise alternative policies, analyze and implementing these options, and evaluate implemented plans. They study the interconnections between the various forces that shape places and the quality of life in them and develop policies around these interconnections: transportation and land use; economic development and housing; physical planning and environmental quality.

Michigan's Urban and Regional Planning Program graduates are found throughout the public, private, and non-profit sectors. They work in community development corporations, planning consulting firms, metropolitan planning organizations, international development organizations, advocacy groups, municipal government, educational institutions, environmental agencies, land trusts, real-estate development firms, transit agencies, non-profit think tanks, downtown development organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, and more. Common to their work in all these settings is a concern for the quality of life in places and a professional commitment to improving both human settlements and the public and private processes that shape their development.

Urban planning is a remarkable program at the University of Michigan, and the graduates of our program make the world a better place in remarkable ways. If you aspire to do the same, please don’t hesitate to contact us to explore opportunities for continuing your studies at Michigan!

Richard K. Norton
Professor and Chair