Urban Planning Remixed
April 22, 2009 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Experimental and radical urban planning: Where are the interesting multidisciplinary graduate programs in the U.S.?

I'm interested in a lot of things, but one subject that's held my interest for a long time is urban planning and design. I'm ready for a career change and want to pursue a master's degree in urban planning.

However, based on my experience working for government agencies and my participation in citizen planning initiatives, I'm pretty sure I'd go crazy actually practicing urban planning. I'm looking for master's programs that provide a strong foundation of urban planning and design theory so I can eventually work in research or policy analysis.

More importantly, I'm looking for programs that are potentially interdisciplinary, that might let me take classes in history and science, and that give me the option of pursuing a self-defined specialization.

I'm influenced by the work of artists Christian Nold and Andrea Zittel. I'm most interested in psychogeography and transit, the sociology of mega-events like the Olympics, and the kind of work the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT are doing.

Any thoughts? School recommendations? Professors to contact?
posted by lunalaguna to Education (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
MIT's program is famous.
posted by General Malaise at 11:56 AM on April 22, 2009

UC Berkeley's Department of City and Regional Planning is a pretty great place. Their current projects page gives a good taste of the goings-on.
posted by gyusan at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2009

"Urban planning" is a lot of things, but it needs grounding in public-sector implementation. As a public-sector practitioner in the area of project review (ensuring that County and State regulations are met for local projects), it can get tedious. But you may want to get involved in implementation at some point in your career, if only to experience the day-to-day realities of implementing the grand visions. Even those who work in the public-sector designing guidelines can get separated from the realities of making the documents they create work.

Mind you, I say this all now before checking your influences and what they do. Perhaps I'll have a different point of view after reading more. MeMail me if you'd like me to elaborate my thoughts.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2009

Two previous questions whose answers might help: 1 2

Departments you should probably take a close look at: planning at Berkeley and Cornell, and geography at CUNY Grad Center.
posted by RogerB at 12:20 PM on April 22, 2009

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