The concentration in environmental planning expands on basic knowledge of environmental planning methods, policy, and practice to create a deeper understanding of the relationships between the built and natural environments. Students in this concentration can download the concentration sheet for information on specific courses that fulfill concentration requirements.
The environmental planning concentration provides essential background in environmental economics and environmental law and policy. This background prepares students to work at government environmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private firms that protect the environment and seek to develop sensible policy solutions regarding our natural resources.
Students of environmental planning study the relationship between infrastructure development and human settlement and how this relationship affects the environment. Students use political, legal, and practical lenses to learn how to develop and implement smart land-use planning policies. Depending on your course selections, you might develop a focus on a particular resource, such as water or air, or on broader issues, such as climate change and sustainability.
The housing and community development (HCD) concentration focuses on the intersection between the social and physical aspects of cities and regions, with the particular goal of studying how to support the growth of equitable and resilient communities. Students in this concentration can download the concentration sheet for information on specific courses that fulfill concentration requirements.
The HCD specialization in urban and regional planning traces its roots back to efforts by housing reformers to improve the living conditions of working class residents of large American cities at the turn of the 20th century. As the specialization has evolved, it has focused on ensuring equitable access to affordable housing; the role of government and civil society institutions in fostering community-level prosperity; community-level democratic processes; and the complex relationship between race, ethnicity and class in the U.S.
Understanding the institutional context that forms the backdrop of local communities and creates opportunities and barriers for residents is vital for the practicing planner. Students in the HCD concentration engage a curriculum that prepares them to be effective in these complex environments. All students take courses that expose them to historical and contemporary examples of community development practice and national, regional, and local frameworks for housing policy in the U.S. Students also have considerable flexibility to shape their course of study and can gain proficiency in real estate development, community organizing, urban planning in diverse communities, and techniques to control urban growth and change.
If you are interested in economic and workforce development, you may be interested in the following Humphrey School research centers and affiliated programs:
The land use and urban design concentration equips students to understand the links between the physical form and land development patterns in cities and regions, and the economic, social, and political forces that shape them. Students in this concentration can download the concentration sheet for information on specific courses that fulfill concentration requirements.
The challenge of land use and urban design is to guide development in ways that preserve and restore the ecological integrity of urban and rural areas while improving the quality of life for residents, facilitating a vital economy, promoting the efficient use of land and community assets, and respecting fiscal and legal requirements. Graduates work in local and regional governments or for private design firms developing comprehensive land use plans, neighborhood and district plans, public space and street plans, and growth management programs.
Students in the land use and urban design concentration learn the analytical, communication, and graphic design skills required to implement sustainable land use planning practices and urban design projects
Students interested in land use and urban design may be interested in the work of the following Humphrey School research areas and centers:
The transportation planning concentration helps students to understand how to use policy and planning instruments to move people and freight efficiently and safely now and in the future. Students in this concentration can download the concentration sheet for information on which courses apply.
Transportation planners help develop programs to meet the current transportation needs of families and businesses, locally and across a region. They also attempt to predict future travel patterns in order to forecast the need for additional transportation services and facilities. Some planners are very technically oriented and work with advanced computer technology; others deal with the social and economic aspects of travel. Some focus on one mode, such as cycling or public transit, while others consider multiple modes of travel.
Transportation planners working for local governments, often responding to traffic congestion or developing ways to finance new options. Some help develop programs and incentives designed to encourage people to drive less, provide home-to-work options for individuals trying to find jobs, or support special transportation services for the elderly.
The transportation planning concentration focuses on the movement of people in metropolitan areas. It highlights the dynamic interactions between land use and transportation and the role of policy and planning instruments in mitigating traffic congestion and promoting livability. An efficient transportation system is the key to economic success. However, efficiency often conflicts with environmental concerns and equity issues. Transportation and land use policies create winners and losers in transportation systems. Our training enables graduates to offer technical and political solutions for concurrent transportation challenges.
Students interested in transportation planning also may be interested in the work of the following Humphrey School research areas and centers:
The self-designed concentration allows students to deepen their professional interests by creating an interdisciplinary concentration that can combine courses from two or more existing concentrations as well as courses from various departments across the University. Students pursuing this concentration should consult with their advisors and review the self-designed concentration form to understand the rationale and approval that is required for this concentration. The form also includes tips for choosing courses in a self-designed concentration.
The self-designed concentration allows students to create a unique set of courses to study important issues they wish to address as current and future professionals in a variety of sectors, including, but not limited to, such areas as transportation policy, program evaluation, sustainability, public engagement, international development, disability policy, global policy, food policy, population policy, and sustainable agriculture. Students provide a cohesive rationale for the several themes that tie coursework together into a coherent primary concentration.
Courses are chosen in consultation with advisors and other experts in the fields of interest students are pursuing. Depending on the particular themes that are identified, courses in a self-designed concentration come from Public Affairs and any number of the 150+ graduate programs at the University of Minnesota. The concentration form provides tips to explore various themes within the defined interest areas.
Some past self-designed concentrations have included:
Research centers abound at the University of Minnesota, and when looking throughout the entire University, students will find one or more research centers to match a variety of professional interests. Research centers in the Humphrey School include:
Cedar-Humphrey Action for Neighborhood Collaborative Engagement (CHANCE)
Center for Integrative Leadership
Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center
State and Local Policy Program
Freeman Center for International Economic Policy
Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy
Center on Women and Public Policy
Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice
Human Capital Research Collaborative
Center for the Study of Politics and Governance
Other research centers closely affiliated with the Humphrey School include:
Center for Transportation Studies
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs
Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change
Minnesota Population Center
Human Rights Program
Institute on the Environment
Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment