Since its creation by advocacy planner Paul Davidoff in 1965, Hunter Urban Policy & Planning has consistently upheld a vision that this multi-disciplinary field requires a holistic approach to planning and policy-making, which includes community stakeholder participation and technical expertise.
The department was originally the vision of then-Dean Ruth Weintraub. She believed a metropolitan institution such as Hunter could contribute to the city’s well-being by training socially aware professionals. Weintraub turned to Paul Davidoff, then a professor of urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania, and gave him the mandate to create a state-of-the-art master’s program in urban planning.
Davidoff, a lawyer, had at that time established a national reputation with his call for the transformation of the profession to make it more heedful of the needs of all communities involved in the planning process. In a rousing keynote address, Paul Davidoff angrily chastised the profession for ignoring the people most affected by contemporary urban policies. His speech, “Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning,” resonated far beyond the national meeting of the American Institute of Planning. He called for the education of “advocate planners” who would represent the neglected communities. With the encouragement of Dean Weintraub, the Graduate Program in Urban Planning at Hunter became his training ground.
With the graduation of its first class in 1967, the program became the focal point for urban studies and metropolitan research in the college; it would carry with it a tradition of fostering responsible professionalism and encouraging active participation in the planning arena among its students and faculty.
In 1970, the department received yet another acknowledgment of its mission when Dr. Robert C. Weaver joined the faculty as a Distinguished Professor. Dr. Weaver arrived at Hunter with a legacy of service. He served as the first United States Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), created under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was the first African American appointed to a cabinet-level position.
In keeping with this tradition, our 13 full-time faculty members and 15 adjunct professors represent various disciplines, including architecture, economics, political science, public policy, social work, urban planning, and public health. They collectively bring a wealth of academic and professional expertise as well as practical experience and knowledge to their teaching.