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Thread: Top schools for urban planning worldwide

  1. #1
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    Top schools for urban planning worldwide

    what are the top, best accredited and most respected graduate schools for urban planning?

    both in and out the U.S.

    im an economics major who attends stony brook university in new york....
    i have no one around, or no mentors to guide me or give advice for urban planning and im somewhat lost!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    What do you want to study (as in which area-economic development, transportation, urban design etc.?) Where do you want to live? What are your goals after graduation? As you'll soon learn, there is no easy answer. Browse through the threads in this forum, as this discussion has been encountered numerous times previously.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

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    Exactly

    Quote Originally posted by joon-yah
    what are the top, best accredited and most respected graduate schools for urban planning?
    I was about to post almost exactly the same question. I have a BS in Environmental Policy from Michigan State University and have currently just started a Masters of Urban Planning at Wayne State in Detroit. Specifically I am interested in a school with a solid progressive philolsophy in Colorado and points West or most East Coast areas. Thanks for your input.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Let me introduce you to the Planning Accreditation Board's list of accredited schools ===>http://showcase.netins.net/web/pab_f...d_Programs.pdf

    As far as rankings are concerned.....
    Quote Originally posted by APA
    Ranking

    There is no list ranking planning schools. APA, AICP, ACSP, and PAB do not rank schools. Instead, students are encouraged to consider PAB accreditation in their decision of what school to attend. APA is not aware of any ranking of planning schools done by any outside vendor, such as U.S. News & World Report or The Princeton Review.
    Don't get hung up on rankings. Choose a school that offers you what you want and that will help you achieve your professional goals.

    Cheers!
    Kim
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    Let me introduce you to the Planning Accreditation Board's list of accredited schools
    thanks...
    but that link doesnt work for me.
    do u have another?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by joon-yah
    thanks...
    but that link doesnt work for me.
    do u have another?
    You may try to check MIT curricula.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    Planning is not a premium profession where univerisities can be sought solely on their planning schools. For example, its pretty easy to think about where the best engineering, law and med schools are but planning is so obscure their schools do not enjoy these reputations to the same extent. So planning schools tend to rely on their parent university foundations and reputations. You can find some surveys on the top US planning schools, for example Georgia Tech ranked very high 4 or 5 years ago, but it does not meet your international criteria.

    And b/c planning is so obscure it is even more difficult to compare schools internationally. Planning is also very broad and each schools have different focuses, resources, and faculty. The US and UK tend to be the only countries where their unviersity institutions are real power houses in terms of revenue and reputations, but this does not mean that non US and UK unis are no good either. Canadian schools are also very good but if you want to work in the US, only a handful are cross accredited with the APA.

    I don't think you should make your decision to attend school solely on reputation - think about what your interests in planning are and then research which schools can best help you shape those interests. Then read up on planning and find out where your favorite authors and researchers are so you can directly learn from and even challenge them on their ideas. Look at school as a place of higher learning and understanding, particularly grad programs - not a training facility for the labour market.

    Having said that though top reputable planning schools in the UK are Oxford-Brookes and UniCollegeLondon. LSE is also very reputable as an institution but I have not heard anything about their program. In the US, most Ivy leagues (b/c they are Ivy), MIT, Georgia Tech, Berkley - but again typically b/c they are well known universities overall - I know there are several other planning programs that are just as good if not better (when comparing the same programs and school focus) but not as well known. For example, however unfounded, MIT planning has a rep for being more technically minded and Harvard planning has a rep for being more design oriented, but is this after careful examination of their programs or knee-jerk pschological biases of the technocratic MIT and flamboyent Harvard universities overall?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian MM1648's avatar
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    This is it...

    I think University at Buffalo in New York offers a great program. Their Planning Department is one of the best in the nation.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by joon-yah
    what are the top, best accredited and most respected graduate schools for urban planning?

    both in and out the U.S.

    im an economics major who attends stony brook university in new york....
    i have no one around, or no mentors to guide me or give advice for urban planning and im somewhat lost!
    For an inside look on how "international" a program is...see where the professors are doing work currently and what percentage of the incoming students are International. One big reason I chose Harvard GSD was that very reason. It's nice to know that if I ever want to work in Dubai, I have a professor who does work there.

    In terms of rankings, I echo all these other comments: it's about what you specifically want to study and who you want to study under.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Regarding MIT and Harvard's relative strengths, I would say they're pretty accurately described above. At least that was the general consensus of the graduates I spoke with when I was looking at planning programs. Since I also spent a summer at the Harvard GSD career discovery program, I can also say that the "studio" format of many courses is very engaged with design issues, whereas I heard a tale of a housing course at MIT that didn't look at one image or design of a house or building for the entire semester.

    I ended up choosing New York City because I didn't want to put my whole life on hold for two years, and I still had the choice of 5 programs. My hunch is that you get out of these programs what you put into them. It is up to the student to seek out enriching internship opportunities, build relationships with faculty, and challenge her/himself with ambitious projects. That said, take a look at the resources of other departments in the university. If economics is your thing, find out about the economics department on campus, maybe some of the faculty are shared. . . etc.

    After much deliberation, I chose Hunter College, which had well-connected facultly and a price tag about 1/3 of the other programs in NYC (Columbia, NYU, Pratt, New School). Planning isn't exactly a highly-paid field, so taking on a lot of debt doesn't make sense to me. And I don't regret it.

    Good luck with your choice!

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