Fields of Specialization

Students in the doctoral program are expected to develop two fields of specialization, a major and a minor field. The following major fields are based on the University of Maryland faculty's particular strengths. However, other fields can be developed with the guidance and approval of the faculty mentor. 

 

Land Use Planning

This field includes the theoretical underpinnings of land use and the segregation of uses, as well as the study of the theory, history, and practice of policies intended to regulate the amount, pace, location, pattern, and quality of growth in U.S. metropolitan areas. This includes the study of legal and constitutional issues, public costs and benefits, the role of externalities, political conflicts, equity concerns, and socioeconomic impacts of zoning and other forms of land regulation and growth management. 

 

Urban Spatial Structure

Students in this specialization will study the factors that determine and influence urban and regional spatial structure. Of special interest is the role that changing technology plays in shaping urban form. Courses that fulfill this specialization include:

 

Economic Development

Students in this specialization will focus on the theory and practice of local urban and regional economic development, including the study of theories of regional growth, intra-national population migration, business location decisions, and community development. This field also includes the study of economic development politics.

 

International Planning

This specialization explores the urbanization dynamics in other countries, particularly the third world. Students in this specialization explore planning, urban spatial structure, historic preservation, and urban design challenges in the newly industrializing countries and the newly independent states of Eastern Europe, and how the political, social, cultural, and economic conditions within and among regions and countries affect the development, design and implementation of plans. Within the proposed Ph.D. program there will be special emphasis on the relationship between social, cultural, and economic conditions and improving the quality of urban life. 

 

Urban Design

This specialization includes the study of both historical and contemporary issues of design in an urban environment, including the means by which urban form and design is regulated through codes, guidelines and review processes. Students in this specialization will explore the relationship between buildings, culture, context, the urban condition, and their influence on the making of the urban form. This field includes an emphasis on the relationship between human behavior and built form and also encompasses a special focus on design strategies and initiatives that revitalize cities and mitigate urban sprawl. It also includes the exploration of how sprawl and growth management can and do inform urban design.

 

Urban Community Social Development

This specialization focuses on revitalizing the central city to make it a more attractive place to live and work, and to slow the outward migration that necessitates suburban growth management. This specialization gives special attention to the social and cultural character of communities, in addition to their physical and economic requirements, and concentrates on developing strategies to draw more people to central city communities. Because concern about declining schools, fears about safety, and anxiety about racial differences are three strong forces motivating outward movement, education, public safety, and race relations will be central to this study.