Program Mission

The mission of the graduate Urban Placemaking and Management (UPM) program is to provide a professionally oriented education to a student body with diverse cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds. The UPM program focuses on participatory planning leading to successful and sustainable public spaces. The focus begins with community engagement, while stressing a multidisciplinary approach to the development, design and programming of public space. Students graduate equipped with the knowledge of theory, technical capacity, collaborative skills, and critical thinking abilities necessary to plan our public space for economic, environmental, and social justice in urban neighborhoods.

Learning Objectives

A. Students shall demonstrate both professional competency in the field of placemaking and the ability to independently pursue original thinking and research.

B. Students shall demonstrate a foundational understanding of

  • The history and theory of public space.
  • The professional disciplines and practices involved in creating and maintaining successful public space.
  • The balance of theory and practice, especially with regard to the use of ideas and information.

C. Students shall demonstrate technical proficiency consistent with the highest standards of the profession, including quantitative methods, qualitative methods, and written, oral and graphic communication skills.

D. Students shall demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in planning practice, potentially with a concentration in community development, physical planning, urban sustainability, and historic preservation.

E. Students shall demonstrate collaborative skills, critical thinking, and an ability to lead in an interdisciplinary environment.

F. Students shall exit Pratt as an engaged professional on the path to participate meaningfully in the field; help preserve the environment for generations to come; and foster inclusive planning and just cities.

Students have full access to courses in the other Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD) aside from the UPM: City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Environmental Systems, Historic Preservation, and Construction / Facilities Management, in addition to courses at Brooklyn Law School. Students may go further, to pursue two PSPD graduate degrees (combining planning and sustainability, or planning and preservation, or planning and development) at considerable savings in credits, cost, and time. This enables students to graduate from Pratt doubly equipped and qualified. The same option (and savings) exists for a J.D. in law, in association with Brooklyn Law School.

Most students gain professional experience and make a difference while attending Pratt Institute. UPM studios tackle real problems on behalf of community clients. Courses are taught at night, and our practicing professors provide a wealth of contacts and references. The great majority of students obtain relevant internships and jobs at national organizations like Projects for Public Spaces, local civic organizations like the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, community organizations like El Puente, agencies like the NYC Department of Transportation, and private entities such as Jonathan Rose Companies. In particular, the PSPD programs are closely allied with the Pratt Center for Community Development, perhaps the nation’s leading university-based activist and urban planning research organization, with as many as ten Fellows working at the Center annually.

The UPM program uses New York City as its incubator, though Pratt’s PSPD programs have growing international capability resulting (since 2008) in courses and studios in Brazil, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, and Turkey; with plans underway for an ongoing partnership with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. The PSPD programs have also offered nationally oriented courses in locations such as Los Angeles and post-Katrina New Orleans. We are now part of an international community of learning and activism.


Course list

File Name File Size
upm_-_course_checklist.pdf 70.53 KB


Reqt for MS in Urban Placemaking and Management, 2017