Taubman College

Master of Urban Planning / Concentrations

Land Use and Environmental Planning

At the heart of land use and environmental planning are a host of environmental and social sustainability implications related to the location and intensity of human activities across cities and regions. Many regions in the United States and worldwide are undergoing simultaneous processes of suburban sprawl and urban decline, along with other related challenges to the quality of urban areas, including ecosystem fragmentation and degradation, air and water pollution, and aesthetic decline – all yielding cities and regions that can be unhealthy, unjust, ugly, dull, and unfulfilling places to live. Within this context, this concentration seeks to enable students to inform decision-making processes related to land development and the ongoing use of land in both urban areas experiencing disinvestment and exurban/rural areas facing development pressure. The concentration aims to imbue the professional practice of land use and environmental planning with awareness of the sustainability and social justice implications of public decisions that shape place in cities and regions, toward the end of promoting cities and regions that are healthy, ecologically and economically vibrant, economically and socially just, and desirable places to live, work, and recreate.

Students learn to recognize the value-based and analytical conflicts common to land development and environmental planning debates and to employ planning and policymaking approaches to resolve those disputes. The challenge is to guide land development in some places and the adjustment to population loss in others in ways that preserve and restore the ecological integrity of urban and rural systems while improving the quality of life for all residents, facilitating a vital economy, promoting the efficient use of land and community facilities such as public buildings and parklands, and respecting fiscal and legal requirements. The skills of the land use and environmental planner include developing and deploying a solid understanding of: the policy tools for shaping land use, including regulation, investment, subsidy and others; the economic and political feasibility of alternative land use and land development schemes; and the societal and environmental implications of land-related decisions.

Through practice, land use and environmental planners address a wide array of overlapping issues such as sprawl and intergovernmental growth management; the relationship between land use and transportation systems; the relationship between economic development and environmental protection; open space and farmland preservation; brownfield redevelopment; transboundary environmental issues; and environmental justice. Land use and environmental planners find employment in local, regional, state, and federal government agencies; as private sector planning consultants; and in environmental and community nonprofit organizations.

A student in this concentration must take UP 524 plus one additional foundational course along with both of the two techniques/methods courses, noted below. The student should then select from other courses (especially those recommended below) to complete a program of study that best fits his or her interests.

Foundational Courses (UP 524 plus one additional of the following)

UP 524 Land Use and Development Management Planning (Required)
UP 502 Environmental Planning
UP 520 Urban Land Use Planning
UP 522 State and Local Land Management

Techniques / Methods Courses (both of the following required)

UP 506 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (or NRE 531)
UP 614 Collaborative Planning (or NRE 532 or NRE 533)

Other Related Courses

UP 507 Intermediate Geographic Information Systems
UP 515 Liquid Planning
UP 523 Regional Planning
UP 525 Food Systems Planning
UP 532 Sustainable Development: Resolving Environmental and Economic Conflicts
UP 533 Sustainable Urbanism
UP 534 Conception, Practical Issues and Dilemmas in Environmental Justice (NRE 534)
UP 560 Behavior and Environment (NRE 560)
UP 572 Transportation and Land Use Planning (GEOG 472)
UP 576 Ecological Design Approaches to Brownfield Development (NRE 576)
UP 673 Historic Preservation and Urban Conservation (Arch 673)
EHS 572 Environmental Impact Assessment (NRE 514)
EHS 687 Air Quality Seminar
LAW 679 Environmental Law / Environmental Law & Real Property
LAW 682 International Environmental Law and Policy
LAW 735 Land Use Planning and Control
LAW 771 How To Save the Planet
NRE 501 Environmental Justice: Theoretical Approaches
NRE 513 Comparative Strategies for Sustainable Development
NRE 514 Environmental Impact Assessment (EHS 572)
NRE 531 Principles of Geographic Information Systems
NRE 532 Natural Resource Conflict Management
NRE 533 Negotiating Skills in Environmental Dispute Resolution
NRE 534 GIS and Landscape Modeling
NRE 550 Systems Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise
NRE 551 Non-market Strategy
NRE 559 International Environmental Policy and Law (LAW 682)
NRE 561 Psychology of Environmental Stewardship
NRE 565 Principles of Sustainability
NRE 566 Public Opinion and the Environment
NRE 571 Environmental Economics
NRE 575 Thinking Analytically for Policy Decisions
NRE 593 Environmental Justice: New Directions
NRE 594 Research for Environmental Impact: Assessments/Statements
NRE 662 Seminar in Resource Policy and Administration
NRE 686 Politics of Environmental Regulation (PUBPOL563, HMP 686)
PUBPOL 686 State and Local Policy Analysis: Focus on Development
PUBPOL 756 Local Government, Opportunity for Activism
SW 717 Conceptions, Practical Issues, and Dilemmas in Environmental Justice

Recommended Concentration Course Sequences (PDF 74KB)

Faculty associated with the concentration: