Urban planners play a central role in fostering a productive, sustainable, and equitable built environment. The built environment encompasses private and public buildings, transportation and other infrastructure, and public spaces, all arrayed spatially as land-use and form-based patterns fundamentally affecting the quality of human experience.
Harvard’s program draws on the strength of the department, school, and university in four overlapping areas:
- Sustainable development: A cross cutting theme, this is dealt with centrally in the concentrations in Environmental Planning, Real Estate and Urban Development, and Transportation and Infrastructure. Campus-wide Harvard has numerous resources in the area of environmental studies.
- International planning: The concentration in International Planning is complemented by a general globalization of the planning curriculum across all concentrations. Harvard also has prominent area studies programs dealing with most regions of the world.
- Social and critical concerns: The concentration in History and Theory is one of the few of its type in the country. The concentration in housing and community development, the activities of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, and a number of community service programs provide opportunities for students in housing, health, and community development.
- Urban design: This area, a traditional strength of the department, includes concentrations in Urban Design and Real Estate and Urban Development. Students can also undertake a concurrent degree with landscape architecture or architecture.