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Atmosphere | Geology | Human Geo | Land Use | Mapping | SustainabilityWater


Planning, landscape modification, urbanization, transport, sustainability

The science of land use explores the dynamic ways in which humans decide upon and manage a range of activities – settlement, industry, agriculture, etc. across our landscapes.  Land use and community planning involves collaborative decision-making involving residents and stakeholders that provides a vision for a sustainable community future and a program of action to achieve that vision.  Such choices, both individually and collectively, ultimately have impacts on the wider environment across geographic scales and time.  A complex nexus of opportunities and concerns emerge from land use decisions that must be carefully and systematically understood in order for communities and regions to thrive in ways that protect environmental integrity while assuring a high quality of life that is socially just for all. 

As global populations grow, incomes rise, and consumption intensifies, the study of land use and community planning has never been more critical.  Issues such as deforestation, housing availability, urban sprawl, effective zoning, historic preservation, water availability and quality, soil degradation, public participation, and environmental justice are just a few of the topics students study at Shippensburg University.  Because land use changes, such as conversion of forest land to a suburban settlement, are often not modifiable in the short and medium terms, understanding the relationships between ecosystems, economics, and communities becomes even more significant as the decisions made today will impact generations to come.  Thus the work of well-trained planners in both the public and private sectors is crucial. 

The Geography & Earth Science Department has a number of courses (below) that focus on land use from theoretical, regulatory, analytical, environmental, and political perspectives.  Many of the other courses across the Geography & Earth Science curriculum also include significant discussion of land use from a variety of perspectives.


Example Courses:

The department is continually updating our courses to keep them current and impactful for your future success. Official course descriptions are available in the university catalog here:
Undergraduate Earth ScienceUndergraduate Geography  
Graduate Earth Science | Graduate Geography   

However, check with your instructor for the most up to date course outline and content as updates may be made.

Example Geography Courses (GEO)

GEO 244: Land Use
GEO 310: Transport Geography
GEO 322: Urban Geography 
GEO 444: Environmental Land-Use Planning 
GEO 533: Science of Land Use Change 
GEO 542: Land Use Regulations

Resources and Research Opportunities:

Contact the Geography & Earth Science Department 104 Shearer Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1685 Fax: (717) 477-4029