Published June 4, 2012
The School of Architecture and Planning has announced that it will launch a new doctoral program in urban and regional planning.
The program, which will begin in September, will be the only such program in the SUNY system. The school is particularly interested in recruiting students from the U.S., Europe, China, Korea and South Asia.
The new program will emphasize research and learning in areas in which UB and its planning faculty have garnered international distinction: assisting declining cities and distressed urban communities; health, food systems, human abilities and the environment; built environments and environmental change; land use and transportation; disasters and extreme events; advanced technology, information systems and methods in planning; and regional governance.
Robert G. Shibley, professor and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, says the PhD program will create the potential for dual-degrees and collaborative research pursuits through the school’s recently created Master of Science in Architecture.
“This PhD program presents unique opportunities to advance the pursuit of scholarship and new knowledge in planning with an interdisciplinary lens that engages not only architecture and design, but fields as diverse as law, sociology, the sciences and even visual studies,” Shibley says. “We’re excited as a school for the opportunity to take our scholarship to the next level.”
Ernest Sternberg, professor and chair of the UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning, citing the school’s nationally ranked Master of Urban Planning program, said the new PhD program “builds on our school’s distinguished reputation for pursuing cutting-edge research on issues central to the social, environmental and aesthetic well-being of our local and global communities.”
The school offers a vast infrastructure for sponsored research and public scholarship through its research centers and labs, including the recently aligned UB Regional Institute, Urban Design Project, the internationally regarded Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), and the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab headed by Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning and director of the new PhD program.
“These research centers and labs will connect students of this program to faculty members with similar research interests, creating new opportunities for advanced scholarship and applied research across the disciplines of our school and university,” says Raja, an internationally recognized expert in food systems planning.
She notes that such opportunities already are in place in the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan region and the Buffalo-Toronto conurbation, with the UB school actively engaging with nonprofits, governments and other organizations throughout the region and beyond.
“Although many of our faculty members are involved in community-based research in Buffalo, many also study planning issues and conduct research elsewhere in the United States, as well as overseas,” she says.
The school’s research sponsors include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as many local, regional and state agencies.
According to Raja, applicants to the PhD program may be considered for competitive financial awards available through funded research projects. For example, two of the school’s research centers, the UB Regional Institute and Urban Design Project, are leading a $1.8 million, multi-year U.S. Department of Housing and the Urban Development Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant that will include community-based planning in food systems, climate action and housing for Erie and Niagara counties.