For as long as there have been cities, there have been urban planners: people responsible for the physical layout of streets, building plots and open spaces in urban areas. In the twentieth century, however, the profession of urban planning has grown in two ways. First, the traditional subject matter of planning of planning, physical growth and change, has widened to include environmental, social, and economic issues. Second, planning consultants and public agency planners now work at a broader range of geographic levels, including neighborhood, city and region. The result is a diverse profession involved in many issues and levels of government. Still, there is an underlying commitment shared by urban and regional planners generally -- to work for orderly change, improvement, and development responsive to the goals and needs of people and communities, while respecting the natural environment.
The undergraduate program in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona aims to develop verstaile planners with a creative problem-solving orientation. Students learn about the environmental, social, and economic processes affecting the city and region; the means by which planners work within those processes to guide direct urban and regional growth and change; the techniques used by planners in the identification and analysis of problems; and the development of solutions to these problems. Substantial field work allows students to put lessons learned in the classroom to the test of real-life experience.
The success of this four-year program is evident in its accreditation by the Planning Accreditation Board, and in the increasingly responsible positions held by its over 1,100 alumni.
The Department's most significant contribution to communities throughout California comes from its training of qualified city planners. They serve as city planning directors and project directors in redevelopment. They write environmental impact reports and zoning ordinances. They are principals in large-scale design firms, and they work for planning consultants or private developers. Some are involved in work for neighborhood and non-profit groups or do urban design. Many are active in fields such as economic development, transportation planning and land development.
However, our contribution to the community is not limited to professional practice of alumni. Our faculty are involved with numerous local governments and organizations, as well playing active roles in professional organizations. In addition, students work with numerous communities, both individually in internships with local planning agencies and through classes that use nearby communities as "laboratories" for testing planning theories and techniques.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning seeks students whose personality and character traits are well-matched to the requirements of the profession. Intellectual curiosity and awareness of social, political, and environmental issues are important to planners. Planning requires leadership, teamwork, and other interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate in graphic as well as written and verbal form. Since planners often are required to be generalists, the Department seeks students who are well-rounded.
Admission to the undergraduate program is possible either as a first-time freshman or as a transfer student from a recognized college. The Department does not impose additional admission criteria beyond those required for entrance to the California State University System. " Online" and "downloadable" applications are available. Students seeking advanced design placement should prepare a design portfolio for review before classes begin.
Cal Poly offers a variety of financial aid programs funded by government and private sources, including grants, work-study opportunities, scholarships, and loans which are interest-free while you are enrolled for at least a one-half time load. Detailed information and professional financial counseling as well as complete application instructions and assistance may be obtained from the Financial Aid Office, located on the third floor of the CLA Tower.
In addition, the Department has several scholarships of its own. These include a series of merit-and need-based scholarships provided by the Department's alumni organization.
Students may participate in a variety of international exchange programs offered through the College of Environmental Design. They may also take advantage of courses offered in other departments in subjects such as geographic information systems, regenerative studies, design or economics.