May 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy

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Program Mission

The mission of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy (UEPP) and its programs is to contribute to a more just and sustainable society by cultivating ethical, knowledgeable, and technically capable future planning and policy leaders. The Department’s mission affirms and works within the broader mission of the College of the Environment to integrate outstanding urban planning and policy programs through faculty-student collaboration, applied research, and professional and community service that foster positive outcomes in communities.

Program Vision and Mission

The UEPP Department programs envision advancing a society where individuals and groups can fully participate in the planning and development of their communities such that basic needs of safety, shelter, livelihoods and opportunities for self-realization are met for all. Community aspirations, as understood by diverse segments of the community, are discussed freely and form the foundation for working toward a more sustainable future, with special consideration for those who are most marginalized and for the ecological systems that sustain and inspire us.

The Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy represents the professional field within the College that directly addresses urban, environmental and community problem solving through planning and policy practice. The Department’s strategic mission is fulfilled through curriculum attainment of three values: Collaboration, Application, and Problem Orientation:

  • Collaboration: We collaborate within the College, with other units of the University, and with the larger community because solving environmental and community challenges require comprehensive and inclusive engagement.
  • Application: We apply our teaching and learning to the real world and seek to make meaningful contributions to a community’s sustainable development.
  • Problem Orientation: We engage students, faculty, and the professional community meaningfully in the analysis of solutions to pressing environmental and community problems.

Many of our graduates go on to professional careers in urban planning and public policy fields and graduate studies in planning, law, natural resource management, architecture, and public policy. Our curriculum is designed to help students make the intellectual connections and gain the practical skills necessary for building socially and environmentally sustainable community futures. Through the integration of urban and environmental planning and policy and the natural sciences, social sciences, and allied fields, the Department’s programs endeavor to educate problem solvers who are able to meet the environmental challenges of our times. Our graduates meet statewide demands for young professionals entering high demand fields; this is especially pertinent in Washington State, which has enacted progressive land use, growth management, and environmental protection policies.

The Department’s mission emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems that face communities from the local to the global level. The programs emphasize a concern for progressive change that is needed towards the design of equitable, healthful, livable, and sustainable communities for present and future generations. The curriculum combines urban planning theory, history and methods, urban and sustainable design, law, conflict resolution, social and environmental justice, resilience planning, environmental policy, and environmental sciences to provide students with a solid understanding of the linkages between urban and natural systems and the multi-dimensional problems faced in urban development. The Program prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make positive changes towards sustainability in an increasingly complex world.

Demand for Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy Programs

The Department’s focus on professional programs oriented toward the management of urban and natural environments meets the growing demand for trained professionals in the fields of urban planning, policy, and sustainability. In 2016, and again in 2020, WWU received national accreditation of its BA in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development (UPSD) granted by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). College of the Environment’s BA degree in urban planning and its predecessor planning degrees have continuously operated at WWU for over 45 years. The BA planning degree has been granted over 750 students and is one of only 16 accredited undergraduate programs in the nation, and one of only two accredited undergraduate planning degrees in Washington State. Accreditation requires the program to adhere to strict curricular and academic self-governance standards and the preparation of self-study reports to maintain accreditation.

General Contact Information

Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy
Nabil Kamel, Department Chair
Ingrid Patrick, Administrative Services Manager A
Main Office: Arntzen Hall 217
College of the Environment
Western Washington University
516 High Street - MS 9085
Bellingham, WA 98225
360-650-7773 (Office)
Interactive map: Arntzen Hall, College of the Environment, WWU
Driving directions to Arntzen Hall

Still have questions? Get in touch with one of the College of the Environment advisors at

Urban Planning and Sustainable Development website:

Sustainable Design Minor information:


NABIL KAMEL (2014) Chair and Professor, (Urban Studies and Planning). Ph.D. in urban and regional planning, University of California Los Angeles.
TROY ABEL (2006) Professor, (Environmental Policy). PhD Public Policy, George Mason University; Master of Public Administration, George Mason University; BS Public Health, Indiana University.
GIGI BERARDI (1995) Professor, (Sustainability Studies). PhD Natural Resources, Policy and Planning and MS Natural Resources Conservation, Cornell University; BA Biology, University of California, San Diego.
STEVE HOLLENHORST (2012) Professor, (Land Use Policy and Management). PhD, The Ohio State University; MS, University of Oregon; BS, University of Oregon
TAMMI LANINGA (2015) Associate Professor, AICP (Urban Planning). B.S. Environmental Policy, Western Washington University; M.A. Geography and Ph.D., University of Colorado.
JEAN MELIOUS (1996) Professor, (Law and Environmental Policy). JD Harvard Law School; MPhil Urban Design and Regional Planning, University of Edinburgh; BA Government & Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University.
JAMES MILLER (2020) Assistant Professor, (Comparative Indigenous Studies and Planning). Ph.D in Architecture, University of Oregon; Master of Architecture, University of Oregon; Bachelor of Architecture, University of Notre Dame.
PAUL STANGL (2007) Associate Professor, (Urban Planning). PhD Geography, University of Texas at Austin; MCRP City and Regional Planning, Rutgers University; BS Liberal Arts, Kansas State University.
GRACE WANG (2002) Professor, Sustainability Studies, (Environmental Policy). PhD and MS Forestry, University of Minnesota; BS Political Economy of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley.
NICHOLAS C. ZAFERATOS (1999) Professor, AICP (Urban Planning). PhD Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington; MS Urban, Regional and Environmental Planning, Western Washington University; BA Geography, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Adjunct Faculty

SETH VIDANA WWU Sustainability Manager, MEd (environmental education), Western Washington University. City of Bellingham’s Climate and Energy Manager.

Affiliated Faculty

CRAIG DUNN Professor, Management, CBE
LINDSEY MACDONALD Program Specialist 2, Office of Sustainability
ARUNAS OSLAPAS Professor, Engineering Technology
DEBRA J. SALAZAR Professor, Department of Political Science


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate ExtensionUndergraduate Minor


      Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.

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