USC Price School of Public Policy

Urban Planning and Infrastructure Management


This specialization prepares professionals for management and leadership positions in government agencies that

  • design, monitor, regulate, plan or pay for urban infrastructure projects or services, such as departments in the Ministry of Public Works or Home Affairs at the central, provincial or district levels; and NGO’s and private sector organizations such as housing or transportation authorities
  • manage the allocation of resources between the different infrastructure activities

This specialization combines the acquisition of analytical and management concepts with technical skills and practical applications in urban design, planning and management. Program graduates fill many roles, from staff analysts, to middle management and executive positions.

» Courses
» Organizations for Site Visits and Internships


Courses cover the growing role of decentralization of resource allocation and management decisions to provincial and district planning and development agencies. Applications are drawn from current policy issues:

  • decentralization
  • design and management of human settlements
  • urban infrastructure design
  • urban infrastructure project planning
  • management of urban systems

Developing country databases are used in applied analyses for coursework, preparation of policy briefs, and preparation of the master’s project. Sample courses for this specialization include:

  • Local Economic Development
  • Property Rights and the Environment
  • Political Foundations for Planning & Development
  • The Urban Economy
  • Comparative International Development
  • Transportation Planning
  • Physical Planning and Sustainable Development
  • Housing and Community Development
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • National Urban Policy in Developing Countries

Organizations for Site Visits and Internships

The economy of Southern California ranks as one of the largest in the world. As a major urban center, the region has a rich and diverse mix of public sector and private sector agencies involved in:

  • economic development
  • land use planning
  • housing
  • transportation
  • water
  • waste management
  • environment
  • coastal resource protection
  • other urban infrastructure services

The region has been at the forefront of forging public/private partnerships to solve urban problems. The willingness to innovate in public policy creates an exciting and rich environment in which to study urban planning issues. The Los Angeles region is home to:

  • 88 cities each with its own planning and economic development agencies
  • numerous regional authorities responsible for governance of infrastructure services
  • 25 local economic development agencies
  • hundreds of private consulting firms, including planning firms, civil and structural engineering firms, design firms, infrastructure specialists, and GIS firms
  • 300+ NGOs and nonprofit community development organizations
  • the largest regional airport system in the U.S.
  • the third busiest port complex in the world (behind only Singapore and Hong Kong)

IPPAM has working relationships with many of these organizations, which serve as part of our program’s professional network for arranging site visits and student internships. Some of the organizations include:

  • Southern California Area Governments (SCAG)
  • CalTrans — California Transportation Agency
  • MTA — Metropolitan Transit Authority
  • City planning agencies (e.g. Los Angeles, Pasadena, Rancho Palos Verdes)
  • Long Beach and Los Angeles Port Authorities
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • California Coastal Commission
  • Parsons Engineering and Environmental Services