Friday, November 20, 2009

Georgia Tech Creates School of City and Regional Planning

Georgia Tech has announced the creation of the School of City and Regional Planning with responsibilities including a Master of City and Regional Planning degree program, a Ph.D. concentration in City and Regional Planning, and research aimed at advancing the practice of urban planning in Georgia, the U.S. and across the globe.

The School of City and Regional Planning replaces the City and Regional Planning Program, continuing Tech’s work in support of the urban planning profession begun in 1952 when Howard Menhinick came to the Institute from the Tennessee Valley Authority to found the Graduate City Planning Program. In the years since, the Institute has awarded more than 1,100 graduate degrees in the field and now has planning alumni practicing in forty five states and twenty five countries. Nine alumni (and five current faculty) have been inducted as Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Seven degree program specializations are offered: Economic Development, Environmental Planning, Geographic Information Systems, Land and Community Development, Land Use, Transportation Planning, and Urban Design. Dual degrees and certificates are offered in conjunction with Tech’s schools of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Public Policy and with Georgia State University in historic preservation, law and real estate.

Georgia Tech’s Center for Geographic Information Systems and Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development support the School’s mission with interdisciplinary research. These Centers together with School faculty annually conduct in excess of $2.5 million of sponsored research for government, industry and third sector clients. GIS Center Director Steven P. French, FAICP, and Quality Growth Center Director Catherine Ross join School Chair Bruce Stiftel, FAICP, and PhD Program Director Michael Elliott as leaders of the forty teaching and research faculty.

The School’s Strategic Plan anticipates two new master’s degree programs, in Urban Design and in Geographic Information Systems; launch of a named PhD degree in City and Regional Planning; expansion of international focus and linkages; and leadership in designing sustainable cities of the 21st Century. In 2010, the School will host the annual PhD Workshop of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, and together with Sun Yet-Sen University, will organize the ninth annual conference of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association in Guangzhou City, China.

“The timing is auspicious and I am convinced the creation of the School of City and Regional Planning supports our ambitions to clarify and strengthen the character of the College,” said College of Architecture Dean Alan Balfour. “It matches the scale and reputation of the discipline and solidifies its identity within the designed and built environment professions.”

By Teri Nagel

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