Prof. Bruce Stiftel’s Keynote Encourages Planning Schools to Think Globally

Primary tabs

While a planning education from the United States was once the envy of the world, explained Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning professor and chair Bruce Stiftel, an America-centered planning education limits opportunities for planning students in an increasingly global marketplace.

“I want to convince you that your future destiny is, in fact, tied to international engagement and global learning. That a failure to see this will make it hard to survive,” Stiftel cautioned his fellow planning educators during a keynote address delivered at the 2013 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Administrator’s Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

In his five years as chair of Georgia Tech’s City & Regional Planning program, Stiftel has done more than talk the talk when it comes to embracing a mindset of global cooperation. Georgia Tech studio projects that tackle real-world planning issues have alternated between China and India over the past four years, a partnership between Georgia Tech and Hanyang University in the Republic of Korea was signed in late 2013, and a new joint Ecological Urban Design Lab with Tongji University in Shanghai began work this January. By expanding the school’s focus to an international scale, Stiftel believes his students are able to see first-hand how local action can contribute to efforts at mitigating climate change, managing urbanization, and promoting equity. Planning schools at Florida State, Virginia Tech, Cornell, MIT, the University of Virginia, and the University of Southern California among others also provide noteworthy models of international engagement.

American planning schools can no longer afford to work in isolation says Stiftel. “As planning educators we are past the era when we thought of ourselves as the core and the developing world as the periphery. We now know that the corners have a great deal to teach us; that we can help each other by challenging assumptions and opening new perspectives.”

For much of the past century, the planning world has looked to America for ideas; however, today's issues are bigger than any one country. If planners are to begin to address these global issues, Stiftel believes planning schools must be able to teach future planners how to work globally.


  • Workflow Status:
  • Created By:
    Kyle James
  • Created:
  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:


    No categories were selected.

Target Audience

    No target audience selected.