City and Regional Planning  

Beginnings of the program.

Professor Everett V. Meeks introduced the program in city planning at Cornell with his 1918 lectures on the history of planning. Beginning in 1931, nonresident lecturers presented a special series on city planning. By 1935, when Gilmore D. Clarke joined the faculty, interest in planning courses increased. With the help of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, Clarke expanded the lecture series. With further Carnegie support, Thomas Mackesey developed courses in planning history, zoning, and fieldwork. The Colleges of Architecture and Engineering gave instruction on a cooperative basis. While the courses were not originally intended to lead to a degree in planning, in 1941 the New York State Regents approved the formal master’s degree program.

Initially, most planning students were Cornell architecture graduates who could complete the master’s program in one year, but after World War II enrollment was boosted by students from other fields and schools, as well as international students. In 1952 John Reps (M.R.P. ‘47) received a full-time appointment as the first chairman of the new Department of City and Regional Planning. The new program enrolled seven students, and required courses from other colleges on campus to provide a more rounded education.

The 1960s saw growth on every front. Planning practice and education expanded with the development of greater social awareness. Enrollment increased to about eighty students and the college added several professors with degrees in the social sciences. The department emphasized community assistance, outreach, and research activities. The first course in historic preservation was offered in 1963. A Cornell-Yugoslavia project and a graduate program in planning at the University of Puerto Rico gave Cornell an international presence. City and Regional Planning added three major programs to the graduate curriculum in the 1970s—international studies, regional science, and historic preservation—as well as an undergraduate program in urban and regional studies.

Student Work

Student Work

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