Urban Planning People and Events


The study of Urban Planning focuses on human settlements at all scales—from rural to urban to suburban—for the purpose of helping communities explore and secure their best possible future. 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.

The planning major--within the Department of Geography and Planning--at Grand Valley State University provides: 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.

Above: GVSU students Paul Bussey (class of 2013) and Lauren Daniels attend a community "Building Blocks" workshop, considering options for the South Arena District in Downtown Grand Rapids. The planning consultant at their table is GVSU Geography and Planning alumnus Andy Moore.


Studying Planning at GVSU

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

Page last modified March 11, 2014