Specialization 1: Regional Planning and Multi-jurisdictional Governance
Advisors: Sandra Pinel and Tammi Laninga
This specialization prepares students to understand regional human and ecological systems and to develop trans-boundary approaches to planning, decision making, and governance of natural, social, and cultural places in different political and legal contexts. Regional planning seeks to manage places and resources that transcend political boundaries. Although each federal, state, Native American tribal, city, county, or private institution may develop a land use, services, or development plan for its respective jurisdiction, conflicting values or rules often leave culturally and naturally important landscapes fragmented or result in social and economic inequities. Many voluntary and regulatory approaches have been used in urban and rural regions within the USA and internationally to address these problems including the development of metropolitan planning organizations; recognition and management of national Wild and Scenic Rivers, heritage areas, and regional trails; collaborative planning and co-management between national and local agencies and nonprofit organizations (e.g., conservation easements, watershed-level planning); regional scenario modeling; and joint service agreements to name a few. With training in natural and cultural landscape assessment, conflict management, collaborative and participatory planning, intergovernmental institutions, environmental justice, and related fields, graduates will be prepared for public or private sector careers requiring creative and careful approaches to multi-jurisdictional governance of place.
Specialization 2: Community and Bioregional Design
Advisors: Wendy McClure and Sherry McKibben
This specialization adopts the studio model of education as a vehicle for mutual learning, integration, capacity building, outreach and scholarship. Program participants will learn diverse and multi-faceted approaches to stewarding contextual and sustainable community building. An integrated system, and hands on experiences are central to curriculum delivery and skill development. The studio employs strategies for engaged learning, community outreach, and inclusive, participatory design processes with public partners and stakeholders. A team-based problem solving methodology is used throughout the specialization electives to reinforce collaborative and integrative approaches requisite for successful community oriented practice. The courses are designed to cultivate skills necessary to identify, analyze, interpret, and address problems within community contexts in an increasingly interdependent world. The studio, connecting community and bioregional scales, provides a forum for synthesis, application, and creative problem solving in partnership with communities to help envision more socially, culturally, economically and ecologically sustainable development. Students in this specialization are expected to complete a summer field-based internship experience between their first and second year. They may register for three credit hours-to be taken as part of their free electives or part of their thesis/capstone project credit hours). Please note that students are also expected to complete a summer field based experience/internship between their first and second year (enroll for three internship credit hours to be taken out of the free electives or be part of the thesis/project hours).
Specialization 3: Community and Economic Development
Advisors: Manoj Shrestha and Phil Watson
This specialization is designed to study the economic and social forces that shape communities and contribute to making a community "better off". Local decision makers must respond appropriately to the complex economic and social environment in which the community resides; at a global, regional, and local level. This specialization is intended to give students the theories, concepts, tools, and practices necessary to design a strategy for effective economic and community development. Concepts discussed include utility theory, social welfare maximization, asset based development, capitals framework, sustainable development, and the role of planners or agents in local environment. This specialization will provide strong analytical skills in the theory and practice of community and economic development planning. Students will this specialization will be able to work in the government, non-profit, and private sectors in the field of community and regional planning, community development, urban renewal, local governance and economic and community consulting.
Specialization 4: Transportation and Sustainable Infrastructure
Advisors: Michael Lowry and Michael Kyte
Transportation planning is the process of analyzing and forecasting travel patterns in order to locate or improve transportation facilities, such as roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transit lines. Transportation planners work for private consulting firms or public agencies. The electives for this specialization examine critical transportation planning issues, such as the relationship between land use and travel demand, the characteristics of different transportation modes, the planning and operation of public transportation systems, forecasting methods, urban design, the social, economic and environmental impacts of transportation, and the legal and political framework that underpins transportation improvements.
Specialization 5: GIS and Spatial Analysis
Advisors: Ray Dezzani and Tim Frazier
(Until published, see GIS Certificate in Geography for Guidance).
Specialization 6: Natural Hazards and Climate Change
Advisors: Tim Frazier
Advisors: Stephen Drown, David Paul, Tim Frazier and others
The field of urban, rural, and bioregional planning is changing rapidly in response to global and national challenges of climate change, natural disasters, health epidemics, energy and food prices, technology, migration, ethnic and national boundary conflicts, water shortages, and emerging issues. Therefore, students who want to develop skills to address these issues are encouraged to investigate their field on interest and develop their own specialization that draws on the expertise of both bioregional faculty and participating colleges, departments and collaborating institutions. Students interested in developing their own specialization or in training as a general small town or rural planner should consult with faculty and propose both a description of the specialization and courses totaling at least nine credits. Other restricted electives can also be chosen to contribute to this specialization. The University of Idaho has strengths in fire and natural hazard management, climate change, Native American law, food systems, justice studies, urban design (Boise), and many other areas for which a planning focus could be created. For example, for a specialization in Healthy Communities Planning related to walkable community design, a student might choose PEP 532 as well as courses in architecture and transportation or civil engineering or create a focus on health policy with a different set of courses. For Hazard and Mitigation Planning, a student could take GIS Applications in Fire Ecology and Management and other courses in geography, geology, or engineering. For a specialization in Tribal Planning, a student could choose American Indian Law, American Indian Architecture, and Natural Resource Policy Development courses and supplement these with courses at WSU.