Environmental Planning

“I learned how to work collaboratively as a group, meet deadlines, and accept constructive criticism and feedback.”

 – Jennifer Malone, Class of 2014


Will Butler
Christopher Coutts
Tisha Holmes


The environmental planning specialization deals with the protection and stewardship of air, water, land, and other natural resources. Concerns include both the management of natural resources directly, as well as the mitigation of adverse impacts on these resources caused by human settlements and activities. The specialization offers an overview of key environmental issues and provides the theoretical, methodological, and legal background necessary for the planner to have an effective role in dealing with these issues.

Required Courses

  • URP 5421 Intro to Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management
  • URP 5445 Planning for and Mitigating Climate Change

Choose at least 1 of the following:

  • URP 5422 Coastal Planning
  • URP 5425 Methods of Environmental Analysis
  • URP 5427 Environmental Legislation and Policy
  • URP 5405 River Basin Planning and Management
  • URP 5407 Food Systems Planning
  • Other appropriate environmental-related courses as approved by environmental planning faculty.

Prospective students should contact the department’s Academic Program Specialist for more information about the environmental planning specialization. Current students should consult the graduate student handbook for more details about specialization and degree requirements.

Employment Placements

Local Government

  • Various county and city planning departments throughout the United States

Regional Planning Agencies

  • Water Management Districts
  • Regional Planning Councils

State Agencies

  • FL Department of Economic Opportunity
  • FL Division of Emergency Management
  • FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Federal Agencies

  • US Forest Service
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • US Dept of Interior, Director of Intergovernmental & External Affairs

Private Firms

  • Arcadis

Non-Profit Organizations

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • 1000 Friends of Florida

Specialization Research at FSU

DURP faculty research a range of questions under the Environmental specialization:

  • Professor Butler works in the areas of collaborative environmental management, climate change adaptation, and climate justice. At the national scale, he examines how to engage in collaborative efforts to undertake the landscape-scale ecological restoration of fire-adapted ecosystems focusing on national forest lands. His work on planning for climate change primarily focuses on how to enhance community resilience through planning for sea level rise adaptation in Florida. Research projects to date include assessing plans for sea level rise adaptation language, evaluating regional collaborative efforts, and addressing the potential for the retreat from the coast and climate gentrification inland. 
  • Professor Coutts’s research examines the reciprocal relationship between built and natural environments. His biophilic epidemiology research applies a socio-ecological perspective to understanding both the social and environmental outcomes of human actions. Examples of this research include analyses of physical activity behavior on urban greenways; the relationship between premature mortality and the presence, access, and exposure to green infrastructure; and the inclusion of social outcomes in climate change mitigation plans.
  • Professor Holmes’ research examines the socio-ecological and institutional dimensions of risk, adaptation, and resilience to climate change and other environmental hazards, particularly in marginalized populations, ecologically sensitive areas, coastal zones, and island nations. She applies participatory approaches to engage, build capacity and promote adaptive learning and exchange at the local and community scales. Her research includes assessing socio-spatial impacts and household responses to extreme weather events in vulnerable coastal settlements. She is also working on evaluating public health planning measures for climate change in low-income, minority communities.

See our individual faculty web pages for specific papers and projects.