For this outreach program with the Danville region, multidisciplinary teams of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning students collaborated on proposals for ecologically sustainable developments that would connect downtown urban spaces with the Vermilion River and offer places where people could interact with nature more directly. Community members offered input on their priorities as teams began drafting their ideas, and final presentations were given to an audience that included faculty members, classmates, and Mayor Scott Eisenhauer of Danville.
For Urban Data Analytics—a project sponsored by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy—Bev Wilson and Arnab Chakraborty created visualization tools to show which Chicago neighborhoods have people most susceptible to the adverse effects of a heat wave. They considered characteristics including age, disability, and income level and developed interactive mapping tools that allow projections to 2030 under different greenhouse gas concentrations.
When disasters strike, urban planners join teams that analyze recovery efforts by documenting the institutions and organizations involved, identifying funding sources for aid, and assessing the effectiveness of governance. Rob Olshansky traveled to Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake to evaluate the short-term steps taken to restore basic services and consider how the country and its institutions would need to change to make long-term improvements.
Photo by Rob Olshansky.
"Experience is key. You need to find things that interest you and then mold them into something you enjoy and want to do."
Kate Pond visited Illinois during her sophomore year of high school and fell in love with the campus. Though she began her coursework as a political science major, she soon found a love for urban planning.
"There were small class sizes and a very personal feel in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, so I felt like I really fit in," Kate says.
With a top ranking from Planetizen (rated number one in the Midwest and eighth overall), the Department of Urban and Regional Planning provides one of the best training grounds in the country. Students receive a comprehensive education in modern analytical methods, the social and natural sciences, communication, and problem solving and can explore land use, social justice, sustainability, community and economic development, and transportation.