The Department of Urban and Regional Planning has three core missions of teaching, research, and outreach. First, our professional masters curriculum actively prepares graduate students to become competent, creative and effective practicing planners while our doctoral program trains students in planning research for their entry into academia. Second, we create new knowledge through multidisciplinary research relevant to planning; scholarship that is published in peer-reviewed journals, books, monographs, and technical reports. Third, we engage the Wisconsin Idea through professional planning activities and service to communities throughout the state and beyond in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin - Extension, a variety of public agencies, planning consulting firms and other private and non-profit sector organizations.
The department takes an integrated approach to academic studies. Its research and service goals reflect the university's combination of scholarly and applied work. The research activities of our departmental faculty are diverse. They tend to cluster around the areas of: land use planning, economic planning, natural resources and environmental planning, community development planning, and international development planning, as well as on planning process themes. Faculty members are engaged in research on planning practice, the ethics and values of planners, community development planning, evaluation of economic development and social welfare programs, tourism and natural resources planning, comparative planning and public policy issues in the international area, integrated environmental planning and management, watershed planning, social conflict over land use and environmental issues, growth management, alternative dispute resolution, social justice in urban areas, and other related areas. These interests are reflected in the curriculum structure.