What is urban planning?

    Urban planning studies how the form of cities, suburbs, and towns affect the way people settle, interact, and build their lives in these places. Since urban issues and their remedies are multi-faceted and often deeply rooted in a city's history, culture, and society, urban planning therefore is an interdisciplinary field that pulls together many different ways of thinking.

    How can I become an urban planner?

    Being part of the FLIP program is one of the first steps in launching you into a promising career in urban planning. After these five weeks, you will have gained a better understanding of the field than ever before. It is our hope that you can further cultivate your interest into a career path in planning!

    With that being said, becoming an urban planner requires a degree at the bachelor or graduate level. If you're currently a high school student and you're thinking about pursuing higher education, begin looking at schools that offer an undergraduate degree in planning. If you're a college student, see if your current institution offers a degree in planning. 

    Although urban planning is available at the undergraduate level, many planners begin their education and career at the graduate level. Most planning graduate programs are two years long. If you have the financial, temporal, and emotional capacity to undergo an additional two-years of schooling, this is another pathway for you to get your foothold in this field.

    Why do we need a planning agency for the whole region?

    The federal government decided that anytime you have more than 50,000 people living in a metropolitan region that you have to get yourselves organized to be able to allocate federal transportation funding in a way that meets regional priorities and federal standards.  And the way we get ourselves organized is to create a federally mandated metropolitan planning organization (MPO).  CMAP is the MPO for the seven counties of northeastern Illinois.

    How do I find out about planning projects in my own community?

    The city or village where you live most likely has a community development or planning department which handles local planning projects.  Your city or village also has a "plan commission" or "zoning board of appeals", volunteer committees that make decisions related to land use in your city or village.  Go to your city or village's website to check it out.