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 Real Estate and Urban Development, Housing and Community Development, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Environmental Planning. The Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Center for Green Buildings and Cities, and the university-wide Center for the Environment add significant resources to this area.
- 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, Social Agency Lab, research projects on social housing and health, and a number of community service programs provide opportunities for students in housing, health, and community development.
- 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.
- Physical Planning: This area, a traditional strength of the department, includes the concentration in Urban Design and the wide range of studios offered by the urban design program in our department, along with landscape architecture and architecture studies school-wide. Students can also undertake a concurrent degree with landscape architecture, architecture, or design studies.