Urban Planning People and Events


 Urban Planning focuses on how to shape our physical surroundings to ensure a better future. Everything from the height of buildings to the width of roads to the make-up of a riparian buffer will interest planners.

It has been said, “We don’t need to worry about change. It is unplanned changed that we should worry about.”

Urban Planning focuses on human settlements at all scales—from rural to urban to suburban—for the purpose of helping communities become their "best selves." It looks at land use policies and designs for making places sustainable, including strategies that protect or restore the environment, policies that will revitalize downtowns, and measures that will ensure a sense of belonging and economic opportunity for all community members.

In the Department of Geography and Planning at Grand Valley State University students may specialize in urban planning by completing:a MINOR in Urban and Regional Planning and/ or a CERTIFICATE in Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning. The course requirements for these specialties provide: a foundation in the the history of planning and important ideas and people who have made the most important contributions to planning in the U.S. planning including Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, William H. Whyte and Ian McHarg; an introduction to zoning, comprehensive planning and land use law; study in planning specialties of transportation planning and environmental planning; and, as always in our department, an opportunity to master the skills of computer mapping and GIS analysis (Geography Information Systems).

"Urban" planning studies rural areas and suburban communities as well as cities. Above from the left: Agricultural landscape in Ottawa County, Mi., the City of Coopersville, Mi., and a building in Grand Rapids.

The Profession of URBAN PLANNING

Those who become municipal planners can have a profound effect by helping to shape public policy, creating new designs for local spaces, and educating the public. They are often facilitators at public meetings—assisting townspeople in formulating their own plans.

Studying Planning at GVSU

Below: students from the GVSU Department of Geography and Planning attended the Student Planning Conference at Eastern Michigan State University in February 2014.


AT Grand Valley State University, students may focus on Urban Planning in three ways:

Social Media by and for our planning students (click on the icons below):

GVSUP Twitter--This account is maintained by a faculty member and offers links to "what the teacher is reading" beyond the classroom assignments. It follows current trends and important voices in the current global dialog on Planning


Facebook for the student urban planning club: Urban Planning Association

Page last modified December 20, 2014