What Planners Do

What, precisely, do urban planners do? How do their activities add value for the institutions that employ them whether governmental, private for-profit, or private nonprofit, and for the public at large? What are the most critical issues with which they grapple in framing their practices, e.g., in choosing for whom to work and how to navigate conflicts between client interests and broader social values? What skills and knowledge bases are most vital to their effectiveness? Finally, how does planning fit into the broader decision making processes of urban governance and economic development? The course will address these questions with the aid of prominent planning practitioners, who will each be questioned in depth during a series of class sessions about their career histories and, more specifically, their roles in one or two recent projects.