Letter from the Chair

Planners’ skills are critical for solving the most vexing problems facing our world today. Worldwide, planners are managing the continuing migration to cities; working to upgrade slum housing, and finding practical solutions to problems of climate change and environmental degradation. Closer to home, planners are renewing and redesigning the nation's characterless suburbs; protecting vulnerable communities from the effects of the financial meltdown; and turning sustainability and resiliency from buzzwords into best practices.

At PennPlanning, we will give you the knowledge and skills you need to take on these challenges. We’ll prepare you for a fulfilling career in the private, public, and/or nonprofit sectors. You will gain the quantitative, qualitative and digital skills you will need to analyze complex problems and to visualize alternative futures for communities. You will learn how historical and institutional contexts shape planning practice, as well as how to work with community members to leverage their knowledge and skills. You will also gain in-depth knowledge in at least one of our six areas of concentration: Land Use and Environmental Policy; Urban Design; Housing, Community and Economic Development, Smart Cities; Public and Private Development; and Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning.

Philadelphia is an exciting place to study city planning right now.  Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the U.S. It is a city of neighborhoods and retains a small town feel.  Our faculty are closely connected to community and city leaders, and our students benefit from the hands-on projects we do in Philadelphia and the larger region. Whether you are interested in gentrification, neighborhood-scale urban design, downtown development, green infrastructure, urban policy, new forms of public transportation, how the digital revolution is reshaping planning, or urban agriculture, Philadelphia has become one of the country’s great urban laboratories in which to test new ideas.


Lisa Servon
Kevin and Erica Penn Presidential Professor and Chair