Urban Affairs and Planning (U.A.P.)
Real-life experiences with community clients
Graduate program in Blacksburg & Alexandria
The United Nations reports that in 2050, another 2.5 billion people will be added to urban areas around the globe. Managing this growth and change requires an understanding of several inter-connected systems, to preserve and enhance community life, protect the environment, and promote equity. UAP’s degrees explore the intersections of planning, policy and practice at the metropolitan, community, and neighborhood scales and in the diverse contexts of rural and urban, poor and affluent, fast growing and declining communities. We engage issues affecting where people live, work and play; where they shop and receive medical attention; how they get from place to place; what communities look like; how communities work and how we use our resources. This is exciting and challenging work. Our core curriculum includes theory, law, economics, methods, and project-based studios along with such topics as sustainability, real estate development, urban design, community engagement, technology and planning. Students have the flexibility to shape their degrees with special concentrations in environmental planning, international development, urban design, and others that can help them choose careers and market their skills to employers.
The Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program at Virginia Tech has a rich tradition of bachelors, masters, and doctoral level education. We emphasize a practical, hands-on approach that reaches across disciplinary and professional boundaries. Our students learn how to understand ‘places’ and policy at a range of scales – from neighborhoods to mega-regions, in the U.S. and around the world. Our program is well connected throughout the region with many of our alumni working for local governments–thus, giving students an extensive network for launching careers in local public service. UAP has an excellent faculty-student ratio at each location, which means most of the classes are relatively small with excellent opportunities to interact with the faculty. Each semester UAP offers studios, in which student teams working for public, private and nonprofit clients tackle real world planning, policy, development or design problems—several studios have won awards from the Virginia American Planning Association.
UAP faculty have earned national reputations as experts in sustainability, urban regeneration, international development, transportation, housing, disaster management, and community and economic development. Our faculty have degrees from the finest planning schools and conduct cutting-edge research. UAP faculty in Blacksburg and Alexandria often collaborate with colleagues in the School of Public and International Affairs, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and several Virginia Tech research centers.