In the late 1970s and 1980s three vital additions to the graduate curriculum emerged – the programs in historic preservation planning, regional science, and international studies – as well as the undergraduate program in urban and regional studies. By the 1990s a graduate real estate program was also added. In the late 2000s, in addition to existing joint degree programs with landscape architecture and architecture and law, joint degree programs with real estate and public administration were introduced. A master’s international program in partnership with the Peace Corps was also established, allowing M.R.P. students an opportunity to combine a Cornell learning experience with a hands-on Peace Corps community building experience. Joint faculty appointments also continued to be made. Earlier appointments had been with sociology, rural sociology, architecture, women’s studies, and landscape architecture, and in the 2000s with programs on Asian American studies and Latino studies.Historical Preservation Planning
In 1962 Cornell began offering preservation courses, and in 1970, it became a minor concentration. The program became a major concentration in 1975. Stephen Jacobs, architecture, was the first director of the program and along with Barclay Jones developed the early courses. Ian Stewart served as the next director from 1978 until 1988, when current director, Michael Tomlan, assumed the position.
Cornell was one of the first institutions in the country to offer preservation courses and continues to be an international leader in the field. Graduates with the master's in historic preservation planning work in state historic preservation offices, local planning agencies, landmark commissions, and private architectural and restoration firms. They also teach and perform research in the field. Degrees have been awarded to more than 250 students.
In 1972, Stanislaw Czamanski, Walter Isard, Barclay Jones, and Sidney Saltzman organized the graduate regional science program under the administrative auspices of the department. Iwan Azis has taught in regional science since 1992 and directs the graduate program.
Regional Science is a field in which diverse combinations of analytical and empirical research methods are brought to bear in the study of socioeconomic problems with a prominent regional or spatial character, often in the support of planning and policy analysis. Among other subjects, regional scientists study interindustry trade, the environment and natural resource use, industrial location, migration and demographic change, transportation and land use, spatial agglomeration and segregation of activities, and methodological challenges posed by the statistical analysis of spatial data. The graduate program in regional science, which has conferred more than 50 doctorates and 70 master's degrees, is presently the only such degree-conferring program in the United States.
International Studies in Planning
In the late 1960s growing interest in community, metropolitan, and national planning within developing countries, along with an escalating interest in comparative studies of human settlement and urban policy making among domestic scholars, led to the formation of International Studies in Planning (ISP), which is both a concentration within CRP and a program of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. An early emphasis on international development planning with courses on project planning, urbanization, and development theory broadened starting in the 1980s to include coursework and research on participatory planning with a particular emphasis on gendered and other effects, the role of NGOs and other community-based actors, as well as an increasing focus on understanding the environmental, economic, political, and social consequences of the current urban transformation. The program provides funding for students to travel and conduct research in various contexts.
Cornell’s ISP program represents one of the nation’s first and most highly regarded graduate planning programs designed to train future generations of international development policymakers, urban planners, researchers, and critics. The global reputation of this program, supplemented by the success of its graduates, brought a significant number of international graduate students to the department long before most other schools experienced this phenomenon. While the presence of these international students continues to make a critical contribution to enhancing CRP’s students’ awareness of diverse global contexts, more recently a faculty effort to incorporate an international dimension into the core curriculum has been instrumental in strengthening CRP’s tradition as one of the only planning departments that does not create thematic silos within its M.R.P. program.
Urban and Regional Studies
The Urban and Regional Studies (URS) program began in 1981 as a two-year interdisciplinary CRP sponsored major for juniors and seniors. In 1985 CRP began planning to transform the two-year URS major into a four-year major, in which students would be admitted as freshmen. The faculty, with approval of the college, made a very specific and clear decision to develop this major along the lines of Cornell’s best known liberal arts majors in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The first freshmen joined the program in the fall of 1987. URS uses urban studies as a lens for a liberal arts, nonprofessional degree. Students explore how social and economic forces shape and change cities, what these changes mean for people in their daily lives, and are introduced to the methods used to study cities and regions. Students are also encouraged to take up summer internships, study in Cornell's Washington Program, and to study abroad as they learn how citizens, community groups, planners, and policymakers can work together to make productive, safe, lively, and livable places. The program’s small size (about 25 graduates each year) encourages close working relationships with faculty.
Also affiliated with the department is the Baker Program in Real Estate. In this two-year interdisciplinary graduate program, started in the 1990s, students take courses across various fields including city and regional planning, business, and hotel administration. The program is at once comprehensive, specialized, and flexible. A comprehensive required core insures that students understand real estate from the variety of perspectives — developer, owner, investor, financier, operator, and user — and from the discipline foundations — architecture, construction management, development, finance, investment and deal structuring, law, transactions, property management, urban economics and planning — that apply in the industry. There are several concentrations from which to choose, including sustainable development, and the recently instituted graduate minor in real estate. The result is broad, professionally educated graduates equipped to provide leadership across the real estate industry.
Additional comments from W.W. Goldsmith and N. Kudva.