Master of Urban Planning: Specialization in Housing and Community Development

The specialization in housing and community development provides students with an understanding of theory and practice in urban development, particularly physical development in neighborhoods. It requires students to address both housing and its community context (as opposed to focusing more narrowly on either housing or neighborhoods alone).

While the principles and skills included have broad applicability, course content emphasizes metropolitan areas and pays particular attention to conditions, policies and strategies central to the challenge of strengthening disadvantaged urban core communities. Students completing this specialization may find employment in public planning and community development agencies, community-based organizations, or with private developers.

The Detroit metropolitan area provides an outstanding laboratory for the study of these issues and processes. Economic and demographic restructuring has led to conditions that are prototypical of older central cities and mature suburbs. At the same time, portions of the region continue to experience growth and development with the attendant problems of planning and management. This broad range of existing conditions provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in all facets of the housing and community development process.


The specialization has a two-tier set of requirements; students must complete one course from tier one and two courses from tier two.

Tier one

Students are required to take UP 6680:

  • UP 6680 Neighborhood Decline and Revitalization: This course is the foundation course for the specialization. It provides a conceptual framework that should enable students to understand how market forces and public policy work and interact to influence housing markets and submarkets and to shape conditions in neighborhoods.

Tier two

Students must take two of the following three courses:

  • UP 6310 Real Estate Development
  • UP 6340 Community Development
  • UP 6350 Housing Policy and Programs

Other courses that meet the needs and interests of individual students may be chosen in lieu of the pre-approved tier two courses if they are part of an approved plan of work.

See courses offered by semester

Course sequencing

Students are strongly advised to begin their specialization coursework with UP 6680; this course is best taken after completion of UP 5110 Urban Planning Process and UP 6510 Urban and Regional Systems.