Urban and Regional Planning, Department of

Daniel Schneider, Interim Department Head
111 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall
611 East Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
PH: (217) 333-3890

BAUSP Director: Alice Novak, Assistant Department Head

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning. The aim of urban planning is to sustain and enhance the quality of life in cities and regions. Therefore, in addition to technical skills, students also acquire a broad liberal education that leads to an understanding of the natural and social environments, their problems, and their potential for enriching human life. The urban planning degree emphasizes skills in analysis, problem solving, and communication within complex urban and social contexts.  As a result, undergraduate planning education leads to diverse professional careers or graduate study in urban planning or related professions, such as law, business, public policy or public administration. Continuation in the program requires the student to maintain a 2.00 grade point average. The degree is professionally accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.

A transfer student must have completed 30 or more semester hours of acceptable undergraduate college work (including introductory courses in microeconomics, statistics, and sociology; a sequence in English composition is desirable) with an earned grade point average of at least 2.75 (A = 4.0). Transfer applicants not meeting these requirements will be considered in special cases.

The Department also offers a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. The minor provides students with the opportunity to apply disciplinary knowledge from a variety of fields (such as economics, politics, environmental science, informatics, sociology, architecture, landscape architecture) toward understanding urban phenomena and planning for orderly, efficient, functional, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically pleasing urban development. The minor introduces students to a) cities as arenas with challenges such as housing affordability, population segregation, neighborhood disinvestment and decline, environmental pollution, and traffic congestion; and b) professional planning practice, which devises actions to address such issues and improve the quality of life in urban areas. Urban issues are explored on a range of scales from the neighborhood to the mega city.

The Department's administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and computer laboratory space are located in Temple Hoyne Buell Hall. Students may go to Room 111 for information.

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning also offers a program of graduate studies leading to the Master of Urban Planning degree, joint degree programs with the Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture and the Juris Doctor degrees, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Regional Planning.

Urban Studies & Planning, BA (BAUSP)

A minimum of 120 hours is required for this degree. A concentration is required for this degree, choose one of the following:

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies & Planning-Global Cities

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies & Planning-Policy and Planning

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies & Planning-Social Justice

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies & Planning-Sustainability

General Requirements for the Program

Current University of Illinois General Education requirements include courses in humanities, composition, social sciences, natural sciences and technology, cultural studies, quantitative reasoning, and foreign language. See the General Education Web site for information on courses that meet these requirements.

Foundation Courses

RHET 105Writing and Research (or equivalent)4
3-4 hours selected from:
Intro Asian American Studies
Intro to African American St
Contemp Issues in Ind Country
Global Development&Environment
Social and Cultural Geography
Intro Latina/Latino Studies
Introduction to Sociology
ECON 102Microeconomic Principles3
or ACE 100 Agr Cons and Resource Econ
UP 116Urban Informatics I (or equivalent)3
or STAT 100 Statistics
Total Hours10

Urban Studies and Planning Core

UP 101Introduction to City Planning3
UP 201Planning in Action3
UP 203Cities: Planning & Urban Life (or UP 204 Chicago: Planning and Urban Life)3
UP 312Communication for Planners4
UP 316Urban Informatics II3


Required Courses: Required Hours
Capstone Preparation: During the 3rd year, students enroll in UP 301, Capstone Preparation. Students meet individually with their capstone advisor to develop a plan to meet the capstone requirement. To pass this course students must turn in a proposal at the end of the semester. 1
Capstone Experience: Students engage in a semester or summer-long applied activity outside of the classroom. The Capstone Experience is intended ot engage the students in the real world and prepare them for the job market. Students typically complete this requirement during their junior year, but have the option to complete it during the summer between their 3rd and 4th year. Examples include a paid or unpaid internship, volunteer work, consulting project with a client, summer research and more. Students enroll in UP 390, Planning Internship, and/or UP 397, Undergraduate Project, to receive credit. 3
Capstone Seminar: During the 4th year, students enroll in UP 401 for 2 semesters. Students will participate in monthly activities to discuss and reflect on the Capstone Experience. In addition. students will present a poster summarizing their capstone experience in a public setting; for example at a public engagement conference, public meeting or community meeting, McNair Scholars conference, James Scholars event, Illinois American Planning Association meeting, undergraduate research symposium, or other venue. The seminar sessions also include career development such as resume writing, interviewing and networking with professionals through the Wetmore Lecture Series. 2

Summary of Requirements

1st Year
Introduction to City Planning
Planning in Action
4 Foundation Courses
2nd Year
Cities: Planning & Urban Life
Chicago: Planning & Urban Life
Concentration Gateway Course
3rd Year
Communication for Planners
Urban Informatics II
Concentration Electives
Capstone Preparation
4th Year
Concentration Workshop ( UP 447, UP 455, UP 456, UP 457, or UP 478)
Capstone Experience (UP 390 or UP 397)
Undergraduate Capstone Seminar
Plus 15 hours of UP electives, GE not met by UP foundation & core, and open electives.

Urban Studies and Planning Minor

UP 101Introduction to City Planning3
UP 203Cities: Planning & Urban Life (prerequisite: UP 101)3
or UP 204 Chicago: Planning & Urban Life
Elective courses offered by DURP. At least six (6) hours of coursework must be advanced courses (300- or 400-level) and distinct from credit earned for the student's major or another minor.14
Total Hours20

Admission criteria: 2.75 GPA, as space is available. For admission criteria and process, see www.urban.illinois.edu or contact the BAUSP Director, Alice Novak, at novak2@illinois.edu

UP Class Schedule


UP 101   Introduction to City Planning   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides an introduction to urban and regional planning by examining the history of American urbanization, the evolution of American planning thought and practice, and contemporary issues and planning approaches.

UP 116   Urban Informatics I   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduces students to basic analytical techniques used to better understand how cities work. Topics include the foundational statistical concepts of data, variation, and inference. Students formulate a research question about an urban studies or planning issue, collect data, use statistical software to analyze data, and communicate the findings.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Quantitative Reasoning I

UP 136   Urban Sustainability   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides students with a basic understanding of how to make cities more sustainable by connecting how and where we live to environmental issues. Emphasis on green infrastructure and urban systems, vulnerability and resilience, green design and construction methods, energy production and consumption, and water conservation.

UP 185   Cities in a Global Perspective   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to the process of urbanization from a global perspective by exploring the social, political, cultural and economic forces that shape urban life. Students will learn to analyze urban development in a range of cities including those in the Middle East and South Asia, Latin America and Africa.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci
Cultural Studies - Western

UP 201   Planning in Action   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduces students to different career paths open to urban studies and planning majors. Students interact with professionals and take part in hands-on activities related to different concentration areas: sustainability, policy & planning, social justice and global cities.

UP 203   Cities: Planning & Urban Life   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides a broad introduction to social science theories and analysis methods to examine how people, communities, and governments plan a city. Draws upon theories and methods of several social science disciplines including economics, geography, political science, anthropology and sociology. Includes hands-on application of fundamental analysis techniques. Credit is not given for both UP 203 and UP 204. Prerequisite: UP 101.

UP 204   Chicago: Planning & Urban Life   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides a broad introduction to social science theories and analysis methods, and uses the City of Chicago as a semester-long case study to examine how people, communities, and governments plan a city. Draws upon theories and methods of several social science disciplines including economics, geography, political science, anthropology, and sociology. Balances themes and concepts from the assigned readings with discussion of Chicago-specific case studies and hands-on application of fundamental analysis techniques. Credit is not given for both UP 204 and UP 203. Prerequisite: UP 101.

UP 205   Ecology & Environmental Sustainability   credit: 3 Hours.

Basic ecological principles underlying environmental sustainability. Examination of problems that arise from inadequate consideration of structure and function of ecological systems, and approaches to ecological restoration and environmentally sound planning. Applications of principles to case studies drawn from urban planning, natural resource management and sustainable development.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Nat Sci & Tech - Life Sciences

UP 210   Environmental Economics   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as ACE 210, ECON 210, ENVS 210, and NRES 210. See ACE 210.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci

UP 211   Local Planning, Gov't and Law   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides students with a basic understanding of the governmental structure, legal aspects, and practice of local municipal planning, with special emphasis on case law, constitutional principles, zoning, subdivision regulations and comprehensive planning. Gives an introduction for students interested in pursuing more advanced studies in land use law and local government planning.

UP 260   Social Inequality and Planning   credit: 3 Hours.

How are inequalities produced and contested in an urban environment? This course examines this question by analyzing how the urban landscape shapes and is shaped by race, class, and gender inequalities. Uses comparative cases to explore successful intervention, both from formal and informal, across multiple scales from the local to the global.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci

UP 301   Capstone Preparation   credit: 1 Hour.

Students work with capstone advisor to develop a plan to meet the capstone experience requirement. Students submit a proposal at the end of the semester. Approved for S/U grading only. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

UP 312   Communication for Planners   credit: 4 Hours.

Integrates written, verbal, and graphic communication techniques into planning and analysis. Activities simulate professional situations where students develop skills and pieces of broader arguments and synthesize them into final products. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition I general education requirement.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition

UP 316   Urban Informatics II   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides an introduction to formal methods for collecting and analyzing data required in various planning processes. Methods include survey research, regional demographic and economic analysis, forecasting techniques, benefit-cost analysis, and decision analysis. Prerequisite: UP 116 or an introductory statistics course.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Quantitative Reasoning II

UP 330   The Modern American City   credit: 3 Hours.

Explore the transformation of the American city in its journey from abandonment to renewed growth. Cities today are sites of rapid change and experimentation with new ideas for how people can and should live. This course examines the resurgence of American cities, the challenges they face, and their transformation in the 21st century. Each week, class will focus on a different aspect of the modern American city--work, housing, globalization, high finance--and explore its promises, challenges, and implications for the future.

UP 335   Cities and Immigrants   credit: 3 Hours.

Focuses on the experiences of United States cities and towns undergoing rapid demographic economic, social, and cultural changes and the local responses to those changes, including local policy making, land-use regulations, community controversy, and grassroots activism. Same as SOCW 335.

UP 340   Planning for Healthy Cities   credit: 3 Hours.

Explores the evolving role of health in urban planning. Historical and current theories on the relationship between public health and the built environment are highlighted, as are prescriptions for healthy urban design. Community health planning, health disparities, and the needs of special populations in the city are also examined, along with some of the major policy issues affecting urban health care today.

UP 345   Economic Development Planning   credit: 3 Hours.

Public-private-partnerships in urban economic development, including study of potentials, problems, and projects; financing urban economic development through federal grant programs, tax increment financing, and other means.

UP 347   Junior Planning Workshop   credit: 6 Hours.

Introduction to planning practice, with an emphasis on physical planning skills. Includes field observation, spatial data analysis, professional communication, and design. Prerequisite: UP 205, UP 312, UP 260 and UP 316.

UP 357   The Land Development Process   credit: 3 Hours.

The planning practice requires an understanding of the land development process. In this course students will learn about the decision process used for land development and the technical skills required for reading site plans. The course provides the essential skills necessary in the field of public-sector planning. Developers are required to make key determinations in the decision process for developing land. Planners are required to understand these decisions and they must possess the ability to interpret proposed site plans for development. This includes an understanding of existing conditions of land proposed for development and the impact of new development on the site and surrounding areas. This course contains three primary components in teaching an understanding of the land development process. They are: Understanding Market Decision for Developing Land; Reading Site Plans; and Assembling a Development Plan. Credit is not given for UP 357 if credit for UP 347 has already been given. Prerequisite: UP 312-Communication for Planners is highly recommended or basic familiarity with InDesign, Illustrator, and SketchUp.

UP 390   Planning Internship   credit: 0 to 4 Hours.

Professionally supervised field experience in public and private planning or development agencies. Designed to introduce students to professional employment and actual planning practice. Students work in an agency of their own choice, subject to departmental approval, either during the summer session or part-time during a regular term. At least two weeks of full-time employment or its equivalent is required for each term hour of credit to a maximum of 4 hours. Summary reports are submitted by both employer and student. Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated. Counts toward the Capstone Experience Requirement. Prerequisite: Upper division undergraduate standing in urban planning.

UP 397   Undergraduate Project   credit: 1 to 3 Hours.

Special projects and applied research related to real world urban problems and professional practice. One credit hour requires approximately 80 hours of work. May be repeated up to 3 hours. Counts toward the Capstone Experience Requirement. Prerequisite: Upper division standing in Urban Planning and consent of Capstone advisor.

UP 401   Undergraduate Capstone Seminar   credit: 1 Hour.

Seminar for peer discussion about the capstone experience and required capstone experience presentation. Students will attend lectures and workshops about career opportunities, resume writing, interviewing, and networking. Meets on a monthly basis. 1 undergraduate hour. No graduate credit. Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated in separate terms up to 2 hours. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

UP 405   Watershed Ecology and Planning   credit: 4 Hours.

Uses the watershed as the basic organizing concept in environmental planning and management; methods for assessing watershed boundaries, soils, land use, and groundwater system processes and developing plans for watershed protection. Emphasizes ecological implications of patterns of land use on functional and qualitative aspects of watershed systems. All-day field trip required. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Should have a previous course in environmental science.

UP 406   Urban Ecology   credit: 4 Hours.

Examines cities as natural systems, combining ecological analyses with historical, anthropological, and sociological studies of urban nature. Addresses ecological sustainability, growth management, biodiversity, restoration, and environmental justice. Required field trip. Same as ENVS 406. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 407   State and Local Public Finance   credit: 4 Hours.

Provides students with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of fiscal planning at the state and local levels of government. Addresses both the theory and methods of state and local finance, focused on state and local fiscal policy. Addresses emerging policy issues involving land use and taxation, spending and budgeting, intergovernmental cooperation, debt financing, financing for economic development, and privatization. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 418   GIS for Planners   credit: 4 Hours.

Detailed introduction to the design and use of computerized geographic information systems, focusing on their significance for planning. Emphasizes GIS within an institutional setting, covering not only fundamental technical concepts, but also organizational, management, and legal issues. Students will be introduced to GIS applications and products through readings, videos, demonstrations, and exercises. Computer laboratory work is included. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Upper division undergaraduate or graduate standing.

UP 420   Plng for Historic Preservation   credit: 4 Hours.

Historic preservation in the context of urban planning, including legal issues and ordinances, economic incentives, comprehensive plans and preservation plans, public participation, media relations, and more. Students will conduct a building survey including research and architectural descriptions for an on-going project in Urbana. Tours of local preservation projects. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: At least junior standing.

UP 423   Community Development in the Global South   credit: 4 Hours.

Introduces students to the main theoretical frameworks and conceptual building blocks of urban and community development in the Global South. It helps students to develop critical grassroots focused understanding of the approaches to development planning, the notion of community participation and empowerment, and the role of various actors including the non-government organizations and the community-based groups. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 426   Urban Design and Planning   credit: 4 Hours.

Concepts and techniques of urban analysis, plan making, and implementation essential for effective interdisciplinary work in urban design. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

UP 428   International Planning Studio   credit: 3 to 6 Hours.

Involves multidisciplinary student teams developing design or policy proposals for urban development of sites in international contexts. The studio combines seminar and studio/workshop formats to apply critical analysis, define planning problems, and propose solutions that integrate the social, economic, physical, and cultural aspects of site development. 3 to 6 undergraduate hours. 3 to 6 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 12 hours. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

UP 430   Urban Transportation Planning   credit: 4 Hours.

Role of transportation in urban development and planning; characteristics of urban-person transportation systems and methods of analysis and forecasting of urban-person transportation demand; transportation systems management and capital improvement programming; and emphasis on the needs and activities of metropolitan planning organizations. Same as CEE 417. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 436   Urban Design Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

Examines urban design theory and principles, and evaluates the built environment in a lab-based setting. Working in teams, students become immersed in real work examples and propose design interventions for specific places, including socially diverse neighborhoods in small cities and major metropolitan urban centers. Normally includes active engagement with community residents. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 426, senior or graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

UP 438   Disasters and Urban Planning   credit: 4 Hours.

Introduction to the role of urban planners in preparing for and rebuilding after disasters. Emphasizes U.S. planning practice, with particular attention to the role of local government. Includes basic U.S. emergency management laws and framework, local mitigation planning, and post-disaster recovery planning. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, senior in Urban Planning, or consent of instructor.

UP 443   Scenarios, Plans & Future Cities   credit: 3 Hours.

This course teaches theories and tools of scenario analysis, a set of techniques useful for making plans and creating more sustainable future cities. Scenario analysis can be used to think about multiple facets of a problem simultaneously and for addressing the uncertain future in light of the limited cognitive and computational capacity of individuals and organizations. Urban planners and policymakers are adopting and extending scenario approaches to envision the future, analyze decisions, and identify robust strategies in situations as varied as comparing projected outcomes of alternative routes for highway investment, to making decisions in situations when formal regulatory mechanisms may be lacking. The need for knowledge and skills in this area is reflected in (1) the growing use of scenario analysis as a required method in many government-funded planning initiative in the United States and around the world, (2) new courses and workshops offered by urban planning programs and professional trainers, such as the American Planning Association and Planetizen, and (3) the sprouting of scenario planning support tools, such as Envision Tomorrow and Index PlanBuilder. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: A completion of an urban planning class would be useful. Junior standing is required.

UP 447   Land Use Planning Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

Small group field work applying principles and techniques to specific land use problems in selected jurisdictions. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 211, senior or graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

UP 455   Economic Development Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

Small group field work applying principles and techniques of economic development planning and policy analysis to specific problems in selected cities, regions, or states. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 345 or consent of instructor.

UP 456   Sustainable Planning Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

Focuses on applying sustainable planning principles in a real world setting. Readings and research into indices of sustainable development, sustainable urbanism, and related literature help establish parameters for resolving a local planning project. Course is a hybrid workshop with portions of the semester spent on reading, research, and application working with a local planning agency. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 136 and UP 205, senior or graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

UP 457   Small Town/Rural Planning Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

What is rural and why does it matter? This workshop focuses on small towns and rural communities using Central Illinois communities in local case studies. Students will apply concepts and skills from prior courses and work extensively in teams to compile, synthesize, and communicate information that furthers planning and placemaking efforts. Archival research techniques; analysis of demographic, social, and economic trends; qualitative interviewing; and documentary film production are examples of the kinds of skills students will develop and refine. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 211, senior or graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

UP 460   Transportation/Land Use Policy   credit: 4 Hours.

Provides an integrated perspective and analytical framework for understanding urban transportation and land use policies. Emphasizes the interplay between the built environment and transportation by focusing on: fundamental travel demand theories; performance measures of urban transportation systems; impacts of transportation on land use and urban form; impacts of land use and urban form on travel patterns; congestion pricing; public transportation and active transportation; and transit oriented development (TOD). 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 466   Energy, Plng & Blt Environment   credit: 4 Hours.

Focuses on the study of buildings, including their past and present uses, their place in the environment, and most importantly, how they can become more sustainable. Teaches students to think about and plan physical space from an energy-and climate-centric perspective. Uses climate mitigation and building energy systems-modeling techniques to analyze potential energy systems reductions and approaches to affect a building's carbon footprint. Same as LA 466. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 470   Shrinking Cities   credit: 4 Hours.

This seminar examines urban shrinkage--a phenomenon typically associated with population loss, but also characterized by obsolescence, disinvestment, and abandonment. While some cities thrive and struggle to house the global urban majority, other cities face the stark reality of shrinkage and decline. What should we do to envision and enact a viable future for our shrinking cities? This course will be taught as a seminar, using readings, student facilitated discussions, and lectures as a means for creating a shared understanding around urban shrinkage. Literature from Planning, Economics, Sociology, and other areas will contribute to discussions of the meaning of urban decline as a set of social, economic, and spatial phenomena. Some seminar sessions will be "lab" sessions, focused on developing your analytical skillset via qualitative and quantitative methods. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Credit is not given for UP 470 if credit for UP 494-AG has been given. Prerequisite: Students must have at least a junior standing.

UP 473   Housing & Urban Policy   credit: 4 Hours.

The role of housing in American social policy planning: the history of public and private intervention in housing, regulation of supply and demand within housing markets and market imperfections; analysis of public policies for housing as they affect special populations (for example, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, homeless, and minorities). 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 474   Neighborhood Revitalization   credit: 4 Hours.

Examines rationale and techniques for planning at the neighborhood level; the major social, political, and economic issues that confound public and private sector efforts to revitalize distressed neighborhoods. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

UP 475   Real Estate Development Fundamentals   credit: 4 Hours.

This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts and techniques applied in the real estate development process. In addition, this course will examine both the broader economic and social context in which real estate development is situated as well as how various professions interact within this context. Course assessments will include several case study assignments and a group project using an actual development site that will provide students with the chance to apply the concepts and techniques learned in the course, culminating in a final report and presentation. The overall objective of the course is to provide students with a useful framework for understanding the real estate development process, allowing them to identify viable development opportunities and analyze real estate development projects, while weighing the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits for a community. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Credit is not given for UP 475 if credit was already given for UP 494-RE. Prerequisite: This course has no prerequisites, however, having had at least an introductory urban planning class would be helpful. Upper-level or graduate standing is recommended.

UP 478   Community Development Workshop   credit: 4 Hours.

Application of community development principles and techniques to the solution of environmental, economic and social problems facing low income urban communities. Involves small group projects and off-campus field work in collaboration with community leaders. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: UP 260, senior or graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

UP 494   Special Topics in Planning   credit: 1 to 6 Hours.

Seminar on topics of current interest, as announced in the Schedule. 1 to 6 undergraduate hours. 1 to 6 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 16 hours.