- Educate the next generation of inspired urban planners and scholars,
- Conduct research that influences planning policy and knowledge, and
- Engage with partners in innovative local planning efforts
Our motto –Dream of a City– evokes Daniel Burnham's exhortation to make big plans and reflects Dr. Martin Luther King's hope for justice, unity, and opportunity. Dream of a City is our call for students of planning to be visionary – to think beyond planning as a technical exercise and engage in planning as a creative and just endeavor. We seek to inspire students, community partners, and planners alike to recognize that we don't have to settle for the faults, shortcomings, and injustices of our neighborhoods and places – that change is possible where there is vision.
The Department of City & Regional Planning is one of four academic departments within the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy (SUAPP) – along with Public & Nonprofit Administration, Social Work, and Criminology & Criminal Justice. SUAPP provides a hub for collaboration with the diverse range of resources and disciplinary perspectives necessary for effective, comprehensive metropolitan action.
The Department of City & Regional Planning also hosts the University of Memphis Design Collaborative (UMDC) – a joint venture with the Department of Architecture. As an interdisciplinary outreach center, the Design Collaborative seeks to make the relationship between citizens and the city (as a physical, social, and economic entity) work better.
Our curriculum emphasis practice and we structure our classes and research to support long-term community engagement projects. This means that our students work with community members to address real challenges – and have the opportunity to see planning solutions reach implementation. You can read more about or community engagement projects in our most recent annual report.
Memphis is a city of history – landmark structures, iconic moments in the Civil Rights movement, and important contributions to American music and culture. It is a city with deep scars, but a city a city of authenticitythat is experiencing revitalization through development projects and a renewed interest in public planning. Our students are steeped in the culture of Memphis while experiencing its rebirth and searching for ways to make development just and equitable.
The department offers an annual two-week summer study abroad program in Sicily, Italy. First launched in 2012, the Community Planning and Environmental Design (CoPED) Summer School works to advance economic and community development projects identified by grassroots and local government partners in the breathtaking Simeto River Valley.