Since its creation by advocacy planner Paul Davidoff, in 1965, Hunter College Urban Affairs and Planning has consistently upheld a vision of urban affairs and planning as a multi-disciplinary field requiring a holistic approach to planning and policy-making which includes community stakeholder participation and technical expertise.
Hunter Urban Affairs and Planning was the vision of then Dean Ruth Weintraub. She believed that 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 a 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 who were 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 metropolitanesearch 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 acknowledgement of its mission when Dr. Robert C. Weaver joined the faculty as a Distinguished Professor. Dr. Weaver arrived at Hunter Urban Affairs and Planning 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, the department’s 13 full-time faculty members and 15 adjunct professors represent a wide range of disciplines including architecture, economics, political science, public policy, social work, urban planning, and public health. They collectively bring a wealth of academic, professional expertise as well as practical experience and knowledge to their teaching.