What is planning? Who are planners? What do planners do? What do they know? Planning is inherently interdisciplinary, touching multiple policy domains in simultaneous, complex and often-conflicting ways. What binds practice and thought is the primacy of place and a commitment to the public interest. But even these concepts are contested. At was scale should we plan? Is there a singular public interest? Facts are often elusive and truths are multiple. Ethical issues arise and evolve constantly. A planner's personal history, approach, and values become central in managing their professional process, procedure, and practices. And all of this is happening in the context of rapidly changing demographics in urban suburban, and rural communities. This course is a first step to take on these big issues and conundrums. We will grapple with question such as: What are different substantive arenas and approaches to planning? How do political, economic, and institutional contexts matter to planning? How do we meaningfully work with, plan for, and engage with others (especially those different from us)? What are the sets of tools were can learn to facilitate a productive, meaningful, and fair planning process, even in situations of conflict. Through reading, large- and small scale- group discussions, guest speakers, case examples, and assignments, we will grapple with historical, political, and personal dimensions of planning practice. The course is less focused on actually doing planning and policy analysis. Rather, the course turns our attention to learning though case examples about the range of methods and tools available to planners, the tradeoffs inherent in choosing some over others, and the political and personal dynamics different processes create. The larger aim is to understand these elements and their limitations in relationship to a broader set of political systems and structures, with attention to race and class power dynamics in the United States.