Our Mission

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning nurtures, creates, articulates, teaches, and shares skills and knowledge that enable planning professionals to 1) bring a comprehensive view to specific planning situations and 2) help citizens to achieve fulfilling and just human settlements that are ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable.

Our Identity

We view planning as a professional and intellectual endeavor. We are strongly committed not only to the education of the next generation of planning professionals and leaders, but also to augmenting the profession through significant research accomplishments that are disseminated widely to academic and professional audiences. The Department's faculty, students, and staff therefore engage in activities that simultaneously serve education, research, and public and professional engagement functions.

We emphasize the ecological, economic, social, and institutional aspects of urban and regional development and the theory and practice of planning processes. We teach and conduct research to improve understanding of human settlements and of planning situations and we focus on planning as the achievement of outcomes based on interrelated actions over time and space, not merely on individual policies or administrative decisions. Collaboration and close communication with a wide range of disciplines and professions is thus inherent in our approach. This collaboration is enhanced through faculty appointed in the department whose degrees are in architecture, economics, geography, history, law, political science, regional science, and zoology. We encourage faculty to pursue interdisciplinary research and to make scholarly contributions to both planning and fields closely allied with planning and we encourage and facilitate dual degree programs for students who wish professional qualifications in related fields.

We recognize planning for cities and regions as a process with a design component, in addition to ecological and human behavioral components. As a result, we seek to leverage our location in the College of Fine and Applied Arts to exploit innovative collaborative education, teaching and engagement opportunities with design-oriented disciplines, especially with the School of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture.

We seek to understand human settlement and propose planning solutions at multiple spatial scales and locations — site, neighborhood, city, region, nation, and world. We therefore conduct research all over the world, and we seek a student body that is not just diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, but also in terms of regional and national origin. We strive to maintain strong connections with our community, the State of Illinois, and the Midwest, but we are not solely defined by our location in central Illinois and the Midwest. Consistent with the mission of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the University of Illinois, we seek to exert an impact on the planning profession and planning scholarship that is national and international in extent.


Our Aspirations

Our vision of our identity is based on a set of aspirations that guide our programs and influence the general direction of the Department.

  • We are an intellectually exciting, creative, and productive community of students, scholars, and professionals.
  • We engage in close interaction with related units, including not only Architecture and Landscape Architecture, but also Agriculture and Consumer Economics, Civil Engineering, Economics, Education, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Finance, Geography, Government and Public Affairs, Human and Community Development, Law, Library and Information Science, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology, various centers under International Programs and Studies, including Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security, Women, Gender and Global Perspectives, the European Union Center, Center for African Studies, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies and Russian and East European Center, the Mid-America Earthquake Center and the Environmental Council.
  • We attract the very best students nationally and internationally through visibility of quality programs in many venues and through reasonable financial support.
  • We maintain an active program in neighborhood and community empowerment through community engagement and other professional activities that integrate teaching, research, and service.
  • We have a diverse, representative, student body, faculty, and staff interacting with and enhancing each other as individuals.
  • We involve the frequent participation of practicing professionals in activities on campus.
  • We offer active continuing education opportunities for professional and citizen planners.
  • We foster the international exchange of planning ideas and experience through teaching, research, public service, and active roles in international organizations.
  • Our programs and research have a strong environmental component, bringing environmental science results to bear on specific planning situations.
  • We maintain a high level of research activity, externally funded and internally funded as appropriate, by all faculty members across the scope of planning research.
  • Our BAUSP program contributes to and takes advantage of general education objectives, setting high expectations for students, and supports the achievement of them by individuals from underprepared groups.
  • We are housed in well-organized and well-equipped space on campus.
  • We maintain exceptional computing and planning technology available for students and faculty for innovative learning and research.
  • Our PhD graduates obtain academic positions at peer institutions.
  • Our staff support is sufficient for the department's scope and our staff is appropriately paid and equipped.
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