Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Urban Planning

Date Drafted: May 1995 Dates Revised: March 2007 SN

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs

Urban and regional planning is an applied academic discipline that addresses the design and regulation of the uses of space of the urban environment and encompasses research on the physical form, economic functions, and social impacts of the urban environment. Urban Planning focuses on addressing and resolving the physical, economic and social problems of towns, cities and larger regions. 

The MSU Urban Planning department lists the following foci within its curriculum: 

  • Urban Policy and Governance; 

  • Community and Economic Development and Methods; 

  • Land Use and the Environment Planning; 

  • Transportation Planning; 

  • Environmental and Sustainable Development; 

  • Globalization and Urbanization; and 

  • Technology and Development. 

Given the broad range of subjects that can be applied to the understanding of urban regions and how we live in them, the collection is quite interdisciplinary and touches on a variety of subjects.  

The MSU Urban Planning program offers a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning, a Master of Urban and Regional planning, and a Master of Urban Planning/Law dual degree. 

This collection also supports the Global Urban Studies graduate program administered by the College of Social Sciences, from the Global Urban Studies website: “The Graduate Specialization in Global Urban Studies addresses political, spatial, cultural and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the United States and the world, as well as the global forces that impact and unite urban areas.” 

There are also undergraduate classes on campus that are outside of the Urban Planning program that intersect with the themes and topics of Urban Planning. An example of this is the MC367 Global cities and urbanism course in James Madison College. 

Landscape Architecture is an additional discipline covered in this collection. From the American Society of Landscape Architecture: “Landscape architecture involves the planning, design, management, and nurturing of the built and natural environments. With their unique skill set, landscape architects work to improve human and environmental health in all communities. They plan and design parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, residences, and other projects that strengthen communities.”   

Established in 1898, the Landscape Architecture Program at MSU, accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) offers the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture/Master of Environmental Design Dual Degree program (BLA/MED option), the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree (BLA) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in Environmental Design.

B. History of the Collection

Historically, Urban Studies more generally have not been a point of collection emphasis. However, given that classes are being taught on urbanity across campus, and this is a topic of broad interest, this topic is now being included in the collection in a limited way. 

The collection has also included the Planning Report collection. This part of the collection is being grown only minimally in recent years due to space constraints, the presence of online accessible reports, and Policy Commons North American Cities reports collection which MSU Libraries has purchased access to. Despite the availability of electronic planning reports certain reports from cities in the Midwest are being added to the collection very selectively for long term preservation and permanent access.