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School plans smart growth for another 50 years

September 29, 2008

During the past 50 years, Arizona has observed extensive urbanization. Similarly, the field of urban planning also has evolved and changed, not only as a discipline but also as an academic enterprise at ASU.

Planning has been an area of study at ASU since the early 1960s. Today, urban planning is centered in the College of Design’s School of Planning. Its relationship to design reflects foundational interests in the physical planning of cities and human environments. The interests and missions of both the profession and the school have expanded and now include environmental, social, policy and transportation planning and urban design, along with community and economic development.

The school plays a significant role in complementing the college’s interdisciplinary approach to the planning and design of functional, aesthetic, healthy, sustainable environments and communities in Arizona and around the world. As the planning profession responded to such issues as the National Environmental Policy Act, smart growth, intermodal transportation and connectivity and sustainability, the school incorporated these and related issues into its mission.

Planning at ASU now reflects New American University concepts of collaboration and transdisciplinary ventures. Although the School of Planning remains the center of the teaching of professional urban planning, a number of departments, schools and research centers with ASU faculty are engaged with planning research and service activities.

The American Planning Association has included the school as one of 20 charter schools in its partnership with universities given the school’s emphasis on professional issues. The school is home to accredited undergraduate and graduate professional planning programs and is the largest producer of professional planning graduates in the state. A hallmark of these graduates is that many of them have made significant contributions to the leadership of urban, environmental and community planning activities in Arizona agencies, firms and organizations.  

School of Planning alumni and faculty members, well-connected to agencies and communities, have contributed to key task forces, work groups, regional and community master plans, waste reduction and recycling, corridor plans, edge studies, resource preserves and watershed plans.

The school is continuing to expand its efforts to collaborate with other schools and departments as it helps to provide leadership and vision that engages and serves Arizona communities and metropolitan areas. The school also continues to pursue long-standing challenges such as limited resources, population growth and urban revitalization while expanding into new challenges of sustainability, urban design, borderlands planning, modeling and visualization of urbanization, and facilitating partnerships in tribal planning.

The school looks forward to another 50 years of engagement with the communities of Arizona.

Kenneth Brooks,
ASU School of Planning