Graduate Programs

Urban Design, Master of Urban Planning (MUP)

Participatory Urbanism


The Urban Design program is newly centered on the premise that only a combination of leadership, technical, and design skills will lead to meaningful change in the way we think, plan, and construct our built environments. Building on the leadership of the late Michael Sorkin, the program is specifically designed to foster new conversations in response to our urbanized planetary crises and provide transformative alternatives that radically reimagine our cities as equitable, diverse, resourceful, and ecologically nimble.


Participatory Urbanism fuses research, design, advocacy and leadership in unique and transdisciplinary ways. We bring together technology, practice and activism in different strengths and scales across the program’s innovative pedagogy, year-long “design think tanks” where students and professors work together to define questions, propose solutions, and disseminate their findings. We have deep links and interests in both the Global North and Global South, as well as across the emerging economies of the East. Equity, democracy, intelligence, and efficacy are understood as key and important urban tools. Students in the program will learn how to adapt and translate conventional methods of analysis and production to a new projective framework, resulting in imaginative proposals that productively tap into infrastructural engineering, environmental planning, big data technology, and digital protocols that are fundamentally reshaping our built environments.



Participatory Urbanism redefines the very objectives and scope of urban design by foregrounding racial, social,and environmental justice as primary drivers and areas of enquiry. Emergent protocols and concerns from spatio-social practices, urban anthropology, sociology, and public health afford students new agency for working with underserved communities and collectives, allowing them to question and radically reimagine urban power structures.


Participatory Urbanism is a joint initiative between the J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures and Graduates Programs Spitzer: architecture, landscape architecture and sustainability in the urban environment – a program fusing engineering, sciences, and social sciences. Together, we provide a broad range of resources, engagement opportunities, and renowned faculty extending to the CUNY system. We aim to equip students to tackle deeply rooted biases and inefficiencies within our urban design and decision-making processes. Research in the program examines specific critical agendas in order to extrapolate alternatives and focuses on flash-point crises such as migrancy, urban interdependencies, social and spatial inequities, epidemiology, urban health, density, and ecology.


The program is designed to be completed in three full-time, sequential semesters (fall, spring, fall). Applicants to the Urban Design program should hold a professional degree in either architecture or landscape architecture. Applicants from other backgrounds will be considered only in exceptional circumstances and on demonstration of a high level of design ability.


This MUP in Urban Design program is listed within the U.S. government’s official STEM fields list and is therefore eligible for the STEM OPT extension for F-1 students. See the STEM OPT Hub for more information.

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS as of Fall 2023: 45

Per-semester courseload: 15 credits



Fall Term 1

Spring Term 2

Fall Term 3

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