We believe that planning practice addresses our common future in order to make
places better—more just, sustainable, and prosperous. Our own planning practice
advances inclusive participation in planning institutions and recognizes a diversity
of needs and aspirations in communities. We recognize that we practice locally, but
not in isolation; our actions reverberate through ecological, economic, and
social/political systems from the local to the regional to national and global scales.
We likewise learn from practices in other regions of the country and the world.
Our mission is to educate professionals able to make and act on plans needed to
serve good and just places. Our Masters of Urban & Regional Planning (MURP) program enables students to be reflective, to build practical judgment and adaptive problem‐solving skills through direct engagement with contemporary planning issues and practice. Our faculty and students actively participate in the development and dissemination of innovations in planning needed to advance our understanding of what planning is, how planning is practiced and taught, and why planning matters in this world. The MURP program embodies PSU’s motto to “let knowledge serve the city.”
Our “classroom” extends beyond the walls of Portland State’s downtown campus. We bring planning practice into the classroom and we send our students out into the city to learn. For example, students in Planning Methods I and II work with a community partner while learning core methods including surveys, Census data, observation methods, data collection, and quantitative analysis. In 2018-19 students are working with Portland Fire and Rescue to help plan “blueprints for success” for several fire management areas, tackling a wide range of topics beyond fire prevention, including health, livability, housing insecurity, and social vulnerability. Previous classes have tackled such topics as parking impacts of infill housing, pedestrian and bicycle access in North Portland, agri-tourism and land use, and planning for bus rapid transit. To help the City develop their East Portland in Motion Plan, students interviewed of community stakeholders, held group interviews of underrepresented populations (including immigrant communities), and conducted a survey of 3,000 households. According to the plan, “These activities provided valuable insight on people’s transportation habits and attitudes in East Portland.”
Our faculty are directly involved in planning and policy in Portland and beyond. In addition to conducting impactful research, we serve on the boards of OPAL Environmental Justice, A Home for Everyone, Home Forward, and the TransitCenter. Through our Planning Oregon project, we organized a Regional Housing Forum, bringing together key stakeholders to get beyond their established positions and to collaboratively discuss the state of housing and development in the Portland region. Through Community Environmental Services, we help the region reduce waste going to landfills, including composting and recycling at the PDX airport. Our faculty, students, and alumni have been instrumental in Portland becoming an Age Friendly City. We’re also involved in producing Greater Portland Pulse, which provides data and context to promote informed decision making.
Want to learn more about the MURP program? Complete the form below, and we will be in touch.
I am a Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University.