Environmental Planning & Management

Gaia gardens

Associate Professor Brian Stone's Environmental Planning and Design class take a field trip to Gaia gardens, an urban farm in Atlanta.

Environmental planning focuses on the critical ways in which human actions affect the natural environment and the ways by which communities and regions can best integrate human and natural environments. Environmental planners combine public policy with urban design, land use and other planning strategies to mitigate the effects of human activities on air, water, land, and ecological systems, and to promote sustainable use of energy, water and other natural resources. Contemporary examples of environmental planning include sustainable community design, green building, land conservation planning, industrial symbiosis, brownfield redevelopment, renewable energy planning, urban agriculture, and sustainable transportation systems. In light of the highly interdisciplinary nature of environmental planning, coursework is designed to emphasize the functioning of natural and human-generated environmental systems, the design and implementation of environmental policies, and the physical and spatial design of sustainable communities.

Program graduates with expertise in environmental planning and management are employed in a number of areas. Traditional areas of employment include private firms, as consultants to a range of land development activities, and all levels of government, as policy analysts and regulators. Environmental planners are also commonly employed in non-governmental organizations with a diverse range of missions focusing on land conservation, public health, energy conservation, natural resource protection, and environmental justice.

Required Courses

To prepare students for employment in this area of planning, the environmental planning and management specialization requires a minimum of 12 units of coursework, with two required courses:

  • CP 62231 Policy Tools for Environmental Management (Fall)
  • CP 88232 Urban Environmental Planning and Management (Spring)

These two courses provide a critical foundation in environmental systems and design, and in policy formulation, analysis, and implementation. There are no prerequisites for these courses, so they can be taken by students within the environmental planning specialization or by students in other specializations wanting to understand the basics of environmental planning.

Students must also choose two additional courses from the list below or from a list approved by their advisor.

  • CP 62333 Sustainable Urban Development
  • CP 6241 Water Resources Planning
  • CP 6250 Hazardous Waste Planning and Management (offered infrequently)
  • CP 6261 Environmental Law (same as PUBP 6330) OR GSU LAW 7200
  • CP 65414 Environmental Analysis using GIS
  • CP 6105 Land Conservation
  • CP 63315 Land Use and Transportation Interactions
  • CP 6214 Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment
  • CP 65316 Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • CP 67607 Negotiation, Facilitation and Conflict Management

School of Public Policy (check frequency of course offerings)

  • PUBP 6300 Earth Systems
  • PUBP 6310 Environmental Issues
  • PUBP 6312 Economics of Environmental Policy
  • PUBP 6320 Sustainable Systems: Concepts and Measures
  • PUBP 6324 Environmental and Technological Risk Management
  • PUBP 6326 Environmental Values and Policy Goals
  • PUBP 6329 Environmental Policy and Implementation

Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • CEE 4310 Water Quality Engineering
  • CEE 6625 Transportation, Energy, and Air Quality
  • CEE 6120 Environmentally Conscious Design and Construction
  • CEE 6390 Air Pollutant Formation and Control
  • CEE 6241 Water Resources Management

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

  • EAS 4410 Climate and Global Change
  • EAS 6111 The Earth System
  • EAS 6792 Air Pollution Meteorology


Additional courses are also available at Georgia State University in the Department of Geology and in the College of Law. Emory University has courses in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and in the Rollins School of Public Health. Many of these courses have important prerequisites - please check these in advance to ensure that you have the proper background for these courses.

Students interested in environmental justice issues may want to contact the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark-Atlanta University for more information.

Environmental planning is highly interdisciplinary. As such, students with an interest in environmental planning may also wish to fulfill requirements toward a second specialization. In particular, the curriculum is designed to encourage integration of environmental planning with land use planning and transportation planning.

Faculty associated with Environmental Planning & Management
There are two core faculty associated with environmental planning and management teaching and research at Georgia Tech: