Our Vision

The Department of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign views planning as a platform for communities to chart their unique paths toward environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Through engaged teaching, innovative research, and a core emphasis on equity, we foster planning processes in which the three pillars of sustainability work in concert with one another for the creation of socially just communities.

Our Mission

Planning at Illinois empowers students, researchers, and community members to bring about the change that they want to see in the world. We believe that the answers to today’s biggest social challenges—from climate change and environmental justice to affordable housing and workforce development—require creative, multidisciplinary, and community-driven solutions. Our students are prepared to think critically and comprehensively about these solutions and to foster meaningful community engagement as part of the decision-making process. Our faculty members are international thought leaders across all domains of planning, bringing innovative methods and data sources to the critical questions that drive the planning profession. We integrate our research into the classroom and into planning practice, offering our students diverse opportunities to gain on-the-ground experience with local, regional, and international communities.

As a department within a land-grant university, we maintain strong connections with our community, the State of Illinois, and the Midwest region, but our reach extends well beyond these boundaries to have an impact on planning practice and scholarship that is national and international in extent. Our teaching and research operate at multiple spatial scales and locations—blocks, neighborhoods, cities, regions, nations, and the world. We therefore conduct research across the globe, and we seek a student body that is diverse not just in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity, but also in terms of regional and national origin.

Planning at Illinois is an intellectually exciting, creative, and productive community of students, scholars, and professionals. We offer accredited degree programs at all levels of study—undergraduate, masters, and doctoral—and combine the leading-edge resources of a world-class university with the approachability of a small and welcoming community. Within this context, we prepare excellent practitioners and develop novel ideas that support the creation of just, sustainable urban environments.

We describe our goals and strategies for accomplishing our mission and vision in the 2020-25 Strategic Plan. If you’d like to provide feedback about this Vision and Mission statement or the 2020-25 Strategic Plan, you can do so using this form.

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