The College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs is a nationally recognized innovator in education, research, and engagement in support of the nation's cities and metropolitan areas.
We build just, resilient, and livable communities. The college has: • Majors in Public Policy and Urban Studies • Minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Sustainable Cities, Public Policy, and Urban Studies. • Masters Degrees in City Design, Civic Analytics, Public Administration, Public Policy, and Urban Planning and Policy • Dual Degree Program in Urban Planning and Policy and Public Health • Joint Bachelors and Masters Degree Programs • Accelerated Masters Degrees in City Design and Public Administration • Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Public Administration and Urban Planning and Policy • Certificate Programs in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization, Public Transit Planning and Management, and Survey Research Methodology • Over 500 current students • Links with more than 250 public service organizations and private companies in the Chicago area who host CUPPA students in internships each year • 40 tenure and research faculty • Over 300 full and part time employees • Over 3,500 alumni • Eight research centers and institutes • Extensive international links with urban planning and public administration research institutes worldwide
Mission: The CUPPA Mission Statement: To provide innovative urban planning and public management education that puts engaged research to purposeful use at home and abroad.
On December 15, 2020 @ 5pm (CST), the UIC Department of Urban Planning and Policy will be hosting an online Information Session covering all of our graduate degree offerings. Join us as we break down the curriculum per program, offer admissions / application advice, and hear candid insight about the student experience directly from current students of the degrees.
To register, visit: https://uic.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrcu6hqj0jEtK3_on63sGtg3i77sf5V3b5
Read about outstanding Public Policy Major Sean Flynn, https://today.uic.edu/inspiring-grads-sean-flynn. Sean and 100 awesome CUPPA students graduate this Saturday in our Fall Ceremony.
A week after his 45th birthday, Sean Flynn will have another reason to celebrate — he will have his bachelor’s degree in public policy.
We’re almost there! C’mon alumni and friends, please join us to reach our goal of 50 donors for Giving Tuesday. In so doing, we unlock a special challenge gift of $5,000. This gift will combine with yours to directly impact the lives and educational experience of our wonderfully diverse and mission-minded students. https://givingtuesday.uic.edu
Tomorrow we come together in support of CUPPA students, faculty, staff, and research! Help expand opportunities for CUPPA’s impact on cities by making a gift on #GivingTuesday. We’re the ones who will care for cities around the globe and we need your help! A longtime CUPPA friend and champion will make a $5,000 gift to CUPPA when we reach 50 donors. Go to GivingTuesday.UIC.edu. #IGNITEUIC #UICtogether
NEXT WEEK Join us for CUPPA Conversations for Change! This discussion will feature CUPPA alumni who have done specific equity and inclusion work within their professional organizations and is intended both as an opportunity for students to learn about how to do this work in a professional setting upon graduation, as well as establishing a space to discuss how equity concerns permeate the current student experience. Students are invited and encouraged to discuss their perspectives on how equity is experienced within CUPPA’s learning and physical environment, including course work. Register at tiny.cc/cuppaconversations
Join us next week for #GivingTuesday! Rally around CUPPA students, faculty, staff and researchers as we support and care for each other, during these unprecedented times. Together, we will prove the tremendous power of collective giving. For details and to make a gift, visit GivingTuesday.UIC.edu. #IGNITEUIC #GivingTuesday #UICtogether
Our next alum is MUPP Kara Komp!
Kara Komp had her sights set on urban planning from a young age. Growing up in Joliet, she would frequently visit Chicago with her family, soon coming to understand that her goal in life was to make a difference in the city that was formative in her upbringing.
“Even in high school, I asked myself, ‘What can I do to help the city?’” Komp says. “It was this very existential question: what career path could I take that could actually help the city that I love and that inspires me?”
Komp quickly realized that UIC would be a perfect fit for her undergraduate degree, allowing her both to study urban planning in a city context, as well as play Division I softball.
“A lot of kids grow up and don’t know what urban planning is or how it impacts our lives,” Komp says. “Once I discovered the field of planning, I had that laser focus going into undergrad at UIC knowing that, and because I also wanted to play softball and live in Chicago, the Venn diagram intersected really well.”
When Komp decided she wanted to pursue a master’s degree after finishing her undergraduate degree, CUPPA was the obvious choice for her. Describing herself as a “tangible person,” it only made sense to continue studying the city within the city itself, drawing daily upon the inspiration her surroundings presented her as she got deeper into the field.
“There is a very real relationship and almost an anchor of urban planning in the city context,” Komp says. “You learn more about the city just from living here, and you really get an understanding of what the problems are by pounding the pavement instead of just reading about them in books.”
In the MUPP program, Komp specialized in economic development and transportation planning. She says her goal was to understand what it takes to get projects paid for, knowing how often good plans fail to be implemented due to lack of funding. That led her to a Research Associate position at the Civic Federation, where she helped implement their good governance mission, and the Regional Transportation Agency (RTA), where she conducted ridership modeling and strategic planning. After graduation, her interests led her to a Policy Analyst position at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), where she specialized in economic and transportation policy, and at SB Friedman Development Advisors, where she focused on value capture and development finance consulting.
Kara currently works at HNTB, a civil engineering firm, where she serves as Financial Planning Lead for the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Red Line Extension (RLE) project, a multibillion dollar equity project that will extend the Red Line south to 130th Street, a transformational change to the city’s transportation infrastructure.
In her role overseeing the RLE project, Komp wears many different hats. Though she’s not a civil engineer, she’s frequently in dialogue with those on staff who are solving design challenges posed by the project. She’s also figuring out ways to identify and secure funding sources for the project, itself a major challenge. Through it all, she’s drawn upon her experience in CUPPA, using her skills as a planner to manage many disciplines at once.
“What planners have to bring to the table is the big picture thinking and connecting the dots,” Komp says. “I find myself doing that on the day to day, leading a team of people from a lot of different backgrounds. It all falls into my court.”
Komp credits getting to study in Chicago as a defining quality of the lessons she learned about urban planning. From growing up visiting the city to studying its smallest details while riding the CTA, her love of the city has only grown, as she’s been able to carry out her childhood dreams of making it a better place.
“It's the real-world experience that stood out to me about UIC, this very ‘choose your own adventure’ dynamic of being here,” Komp says. “If you want to learn about the city, you need to be here, where you're going to have an easier time moving beyond the just the academic or the theoretical into getting things done.”
Join us for a CUPPA Watch Party! Next week CUPPA will be hosting a movie night for students on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8pm. Meet new people and chat with your friends while you watch The Trial of the Chicago 7. Participants must have access to a Netflix account. https://buff.ly/36lVGDw
You're invited to CUPPA WATCH PARTY!!! - Click here to RSVP
Save the date for #GivingTuesday! On Tuesday, Dec. 1, rally around CUPPA students, faculty, staff and researchers as we support and care for each other, during these unprecedented times. Together, we will prove the tremendous power of collective giving. For details and to make a gift, visit GivingTuesday.UIC.edu. #IGNITEUIC #GivingTuesday
Congratulations to Ciere Boatright, MUPP '16, who was named one of Crain's Chicago 40 Under 40!
Her work on $400 million worth of economic development has helped create 1,800 jobs in disadvantaged parts of the city. Find out more in our video chat with one of the 40s honorees Crain’s is recognizing this year.
Check out the blue sky over downtown on our new CUPPA City Cam with live view from the top floor of CUPPA Hall! It's a beautiful day in Chicago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63a2-dweQ6Y
The College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) is the highlight in the University of Illinois Chicago’s mission to address the challenges and oppor...
Request For Proposals! Submit A Capstone Project For MPA, MPP, or BA in Urban Studies Programs | College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs | University of Illinois at Chicago
Call for proposals!
The Masters of Public Administration, Masters of Public Policy, and Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies programs at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) are accepting proposals from public and nonprofit organizations for Capstone projects for the spring 2021 semester. These “learning in action” projects give students in the three programs the opportunity to work on practical problems with the support of faculty in a real-world situation.
Click the link below to learn more!
Request For Proposals! Submit A Capstone Project For MPA, MPP, or BA in Urban Studies Programs Posted on October 29, 2020 The Masters of Public Administration, Masters of Public Policy, and Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies programs at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) are accepting proposal...
Next in our Alumni Profile Series we have Urban Studies Alum Kayla Butler!
Chicago is one of the nation’s leading cities for environmental activism, with community-led organizations fighting for an end to environmental racism and towards new forms of neighborhood sustainability rooted in the needs of the people. With the wide range of community activists fighting for these issues, it’s no surprise that Kayla Butler, who had already developed an interest in environmental issues, found herself deeply involved in working with groups across the city while pursuing her Urban Studies degree at UIC. Now, her efforts have led her to working at the Environmental Protection Agency, a culmination of the many efforts she’s already made.
“CUPPA has a lot of resources, and I wanted to be able to use my skills out in the city neighborhoods and contribute to advance any community groups or neighborhood initiatives,” Butler says. “As a student, I just wanted to help as much as I could.”
Butler began studying at Augustana College, where she was majoring in environmental studies and taking geography classes which introduced her to GIS and other geographic concepts. Her time there allowed her to start doing direct environmental fieldwork, as she spent a summer working with the Upper Mississippi Center for Sustainability, collecting water samples in the field. She also became interested in conducting surveys that would measure people’s engagement with the natural world, a focus that she’d carry over after transferring to UIC.
“I wanted an understanding of neighborhoods, their interaction with the environment, and just how different environmental issues were taking shape in people’s lives,” Butler says.
At CUPPA, Butler worked with community groups like the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, collaborating on plan’s for the city’s industrial corridors in the area; with the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, where she wrote a technical report on a polluting power plant; and with the Great Cities Institute, helping with community engagement around the Calumet River framework plan. Her final capstone project engaged farmers in Northwest Indiana on agricultural implementation, a technical document that helped with issues like urban farming in cities like Gary. Throughout these many experiences, Butler continuously applied the lessons she’d learned in her Urban Studies classes, sharpening her focus on environmental justice and providing valuable capacity to community-led planning efforts.
In her final summer before graduating, Butler attended a public policy fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University, where she had the opportunity to take graduate-level courses. At the same time, she began the hiring process to begin working at the EPA, where she officially started in January. Already, her work at the EPA has forced her to engage with many new skills and experiences. She does administration, helping EPA scientists to conduct their work; data visualization, drawing upon her GIS experience; as well as public policy writing, as she creates standard operating procedures to keep the organization functioning. As she comes upon her one-year mark of finishing at CUPPA and starting at the EPA, Butler has already actualized many of the lessons she learned in the program, as she engages with many dimensions of the functioning of the government’s primary environmental agency.
“CUPPA really helped me understand that while I may have a role to play with data which tends to require that I use technical skills from the Urban Studies degree to adapt to different systems on the fly, it is still very important to lead administrative efforts that will make things happen,” Butler says. “Holding the values to be that person to implement effective policies and programs is just as important as creating them, and I've been inspired to keep that approach in my work.
Next in our Alumni Profile Series, we have Urban Studies Alum Diana Martinez!
Growing up in the neighborhood of South Chicago, a predominantly Black and Latinx community, Diana Martinez experienced the effects of disinvestment and racial segregation. Still, it wasn’t until high school cross country meets that took her to neighborhoods like Lincoln Park that she fully understood the disparities across the city. As she began to think about her educational path, she hoped to focus on a major that would help make an impact in her community and the city.After her geography teacher told her about UIC’s urban studies program, Martinez realized that CUPPA was the perfect place for her to study: still close to home, while allowing her to dive into the urban planning issues she was already passionate about.
“My high school geography teacher, Mrs. Pestich, taught a lesson plan on urban planning, and introduced us to concepts like urban sprawl and sustainability and the different approaches to community and economic development,” Martinez says. “I was eager to find out more about planning, and became increasingly more curious of the way cities function and the various interactions that happen between and within them.” ”
Immediately, Martinez found CUPPA to be a valuable environment to deepen her interest in studying the city. She says that the Urban Studies program’s intimate feel and dedicated population drove her to get the most out of her classes.
“My favorite thing about the Urban Studies curriculum was the smaller classes, which led to more in-depth discussions,” Martinez says. “All of the students and professors, you can tell everyone's very dedicated and passionate, which is always great to be around.”
While in CUPPA, Martinez participated in the Urban Planning Policy Fellowship Program (UPPF), hosted by the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. Through the program, she had the opportunity to write and develop policy research, in addition to pursuing an internship with the 18th Street Development Corporation (ESDC) in Pilsen, where she assisted local businesses in development and outreach work. Martinez also worked as a housing planning intern at the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) during her final year in CUPPA, where she helped primarily in researching affordable housing regulations and policies, and community revitalization efforts in downstate Illinois. Her internship at IHDA eventually led to a full-time position as the authority’s Community Revitalization Coordinator, allowing her to continue efforts to assist local communities trying to create stable and affordable housing.
Then, earlier this year, Martinez started working as an Assistant Planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Although she continues to do housing-related planning, Martinez has also begun branching out to other areas of planning, such as neighborhood planning. This focus has been especially rewarding for Martinez, as she’s now looking at environmental issues that have shaped the Southeast Side of Chicago, beset by the negative effects of industrialism and environmental racism.
“The Southeast side of Chicago lives in the shadows of our industrial legacy” Martinez says. “I'm lucky enough that I'll be able to learn more about environmental planning and hopefully implement that in my own community one day.”
For Martinez, the chance to get a footing in urban planning at CUPPA has been invaluable to her work today. She says she most appreciates the ways in which the Urban Studies program exposed her to many ways of thinking about the city and its challenges, preparing her to think from many different perspectives about the ways in which she can make a difference in her work.
“CUPPA opened up multiple opportunities for me, prepared me for the multidisciplinary aspect of planning and taught me to not go based off what everyone has already been doing, to try things differently that might be more impactful and more resourceful in that way,” Martinez says. “The program really opens up your mind to explore and keep questioning things. There is no right one way to do it, there are a billion different approaches, and I feel like CUPPA definitely prepares students to think that way and to think outside the box.”
412 S Peoria St
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The University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) is home to the Department of Public Administration and the Department of Urban Planning and Policy. In CUPPA, we help students match their hopes for the future with the skills and networks to make real change possible. We teach students to first understand the needs and strengths of communities, and then work together to improve them. In Chicago and around the world, we strive to create just, resilient, and livable communities.
The college has: • Majors in Public Policy and Urban Studies
• Minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Sustainable Cities, Public Policy, and Urban Studies. • Masters Degrees in City Design, Civic Analytics, Public Administration, Public Policy, and Urban Planning and Policy
• Dual Degree Program in Urban Planning and Policy and Public Health
• Joint Bachelors and Masters Degree Programs
• Accelerated Masters Degrees in City Design and Public Administration • Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Public Administration and Urban Planning and Policy
• Certificate Programs in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization, Public Transit Planning and Management, and Survey Research Methodology • Over 500 current students • Links with more than 250 public service organizations and private companies in the Chicago area who host CUPPA students in internships each year • 40 tenure and research faculty • Over 300 full and part time employees • Over 3,500 alumni • Eight research centers and institutes • Extensive international links with urban planning and public administration research institutes worldwide
Visit us as https://cuppa.uic.edu.
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