At the risk of asking a common question at this forum, I'd love readers to provide some quick lists of respected planning schools. I am interested in specializing in housing and community development. On this forum I have seen lists of schools that are great for a transportation focus -- I am wondering how those lists change when considering housing and neighborhoods. Programs that are less design- and technical-based and more social science- and practice-based with a strong community focus would be great.
Schools I have looked into rather strongly are UNC-CH and MIT. While I prefer Boston and the Triangle, I have also become interested in the Southwest and Austin. In this respect I have looked into UTexas-Austin and U-NewMexico. I have found it difficult to gather opinions on these two schools, so additional insight on that matter would be most helpful. I'd love opinions on the culture of Austin and Albequerque -- I am hoping that what I've read about Austin being "un-Texas" is true. I'd love suggestions of other schools in these areas as well. Also, I am wondering why Austin offers an MS in planning rather than the more traditional MRP, MURP, MCRP, etc. Does that make a difference?
For context: I graduated with a journalism/political science degree and have worked as a reporter for urban policy/urban planning issues for the last two years. I have strong analytical, writing, and communication skills as well as good urban-specific knowledge, but a weak background in math.