Geography and Planning
Teaching and research in the department emphasize urban, social, physical, and cultural geography; city and regional planning; urban design; remote sensing; cartography and geographic information systems; environmental studies; climatology; computer and statistical models; area (regional) studies; urban and regional planning methods; economic development; small town and rural land-use planning. Members of the faculty have strong international links with China, Russia, Australia, and various countries in Africa, Latin America and Western Europe.
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The Geographic Information Systems Certificate program provides students with professional and technical training in Geographic Information Systems and in associated techniques of spatial analysis. A Geographic Information System is a computer-based system for handling spatially structured information, with facilities for processing, retrieval and display (including maps, imagery and other graphics). The disciplines of automated cartography, remote sensing and computer graphics are closely linked in the study of GIS. Various quantitative techniques of spatial analysis are used in bringing GIS products to bear on a wide range of problems, which include analysis of satellite imagery for applications in resource management, agriculture, forestry, and urban planning; land use mapping; computer map analysis and graphics; market area analysis; display of socio-economic data; and a host of other applications ranging from archeology to the analysis of acid rain.
The unifying idea of modern geography is the study of spatial patterns in the cultural and physical features of the earth's surface. Faculty strengths in the department include: urban, social, cultural and economic geography; climate and environmental systems; geographic information systems, remote sensing, cartography, computer applications and spatial analysis. Faculty have regional interests in Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, and East Asia. The Department offers two options within the Master’s in Geography: a thesis track for students who intend to pursue further academic study, and a non-thesis track for those interested in obtaining a terminal degree in pursuit of career goals.
The Certificate in Urban Policy is a graduate-level program designed both for students currently enrolled in graduate programs in social science, and for public officials who wish to improve their knowledge of urban policy. The program provides students with an overview of basic concepts and strategies in urban policy analysis, with a focus on both domestic and international realms. It offers opportunities for specialization in specific fields of urban research and policy, drawing on one or more social science disciplines.
The M.R.P. in Urban and Regional Planning is a 48-credit program designed to prepare students for professional planning careers with government agencies, consultancy firms, developers, and nonprofit groups.
Given the significance of legal issues in planning, and the importance of land-use, housing, transportation, environmental and other planning issues in law, in 2001 the State University at Albany and the Albany Law School received approval for a jointly registered MRP/JD program, constructed from the two institutions’ existing Master of Regional Planning (MRP) and Juris Doctorate (JD) programs.