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The Ebb and Flow of Planning Specializations


To understand the creation and propagation of knowledge in planning, this research provides the first look at planning specialization development. In assessing planning’s educational response to internal expertise, federal mandates, and historic precedents, we queried the seventy-six accredited planning schools on the evolution of concentrations and certificates offered from 1950 to the present day. We identify pedagogical trends by following the arc of program creation and retirement, intersectionality, and prevalence. Drawing parallels from the most well-established subfields of social and physical planning, this paper offers recommendations for formalizing new knowledge, such as food systems planning. We conclude with the observation that continued innovation and diversity of specializations is a key to planning’s resilience at the nexus of an ever-evolving constellation of fields.

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