Focus Area Friday: Urban Planning

A focus area allows students to develop additional expertise in a specific area. The Master of Public Administration (MPAprogram requires nine credits (three courses) and the Master of Public Policy (MPPrequires twelve credits (four courses) to complete a focus area. Students can choose a focus area within the Department, develop their own with the help of their advisor, or choose to remain a generalist. 

Department of Public Policy (DPP) alums work across the country to achieve the strategic, policy and sustainability goals of municipalities and regional governments. They serve in areas focusing on transportation, land-use, zoning, economic development, environmental planning and transportation planning. The Urban Planning focus area was launched in the spring of 2020.

The front of the Hartford Times Buildings with UConn flags in front of it
UConn Hartford campus on September 5, 2017. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Coursework in this focus area includes:

  • PP 5348 Urban Planning Principles and Methods (required): The course will introduce students to the planning process by reviewing commonly used planning practices and tools. The course provides broad overviews of different planning topics. By the end of this course, the students will build a “planner toolkit” that planners need to professionally conduct their planning tasks. Students will be expected to apply skills and concepts learned in class to a simulated planning project based on a real neighborhood in Connecticut.


  • PP 5363 Administrative Functions of Local Government: In this course students will examine the characteristic functions of local government management, such as finance & administration, human services, parks & recreation, planning & zoning, public safety, and public works. The focus will be on understanding of the structure and role of local governments, learning about issues critical to the operation and effectiveness of local governments in Connecticut and elsewhere, and gaining an appreciation for current trends in public management thought and practice.


  • PP 5317 Capital Finance and Budgeting: This course is designed to familiarize students with the municipal bond market and to expose them to key public policy and management issues. Specifically, the course will focus on how the proceeds from municipal bonds are used, the types of securities and issuers, who the players are in the bond market, how prices are determined (including the municipal bond credit rating process), disclosure, and ethical issues in the industry. The course focuses on long term tax exempt public debt; however, there will be some discussion of short term debt.


  • PP 5350 Urban and Regional Policy: The course will explore the theories and empirical analyses used to explain how spatial economies function and generate public policy challenges. Students will develop an understanding of urban economies relevant to a range of substantive policy issues and skills in employing analytical frameworks and empirical techniques to investigate a set of policy issues faced by state and local governments. Various dimensions of contemporary economic change, including globalization, technology, information and telecommunications, poverty, income distribution, and race/ethnicity inequalities, as well as their effects on cities and regions, will be examined. Students should have had exposure to graduate course work in microeconomics and regression analysis prior to enrolling in this course.


  • Other courses as approved from GEOG and LAW