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Charles Hoch, PhD, Professor

Professor Hoch studies planning activity across scale and discipline. Struggling with New Left inspired criticisms of conventional rational planning at UCLA Hoch studied the ideas of American pragmatist John Dewey. Setting out to discredit pragmatic ideas at their source he became a convert. Hoch has spent three decades studying and proposing that we treat planning as an inherently pragmatic enterprise. It is no accident that he taught planning theory and the professional development seminar for 25 years. Hoch’s 1994 book, What Planners Do offered a pragmatic interpretation of the urban planning field.

In the last five years Hoch has focused on plan making. Inspired by the practical collaboration of studio projects for the Chicago Housing Authority, Village of Oak Park and the UIC Provost (campus plan) he identified gaps in planning practice and education. Hoch designed a new course, Making Plans, that set out to teach how to improve plan making skills for professional urban planners. Additionally, he turned to new research developments in Cognitive Science and Social Psychology using ideas and evidence from analysts in these fields to revise current misleading assumptions professional planners use when they make plans. Hoch has published four articles with several more in the works that represent chapters for a book entitled… Making Plans.

Hoch’s early professional experience consisted mainly of environmental land planning working as regional planner, but his advance study focused on social policy development. After moving to Chicago he turned his attention to the then emerging problem of urban homelessness. Working with social researchers from several non profit groups he set out to trace the roots of contemporary homelessness to the slum and ended up discovering the value of the hotel as an urban resource for the single poor. This insight set in motion several decades of research on homelessness, affordable housing and informal helping. In 1998 Hoch joined the board of the largest (1500 units) developer of affordable supportive housing in the Midwest, Lakefront Supportive Housing. He helped plan and guide a merger with Mercy Housing, a national nonprofit housing developer in 2005. The merger means that the supportive housing model developed by Lakefront now finds its way into other cities across the US.

Hoch has played an active role in the intellectual and institutional development of planning research and education as an active member of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP): Nurtured the development of the Journal of Planning Education & Research as contributor, review editor and editorial board member. Helped coordinate, sponsor and deliver support for doctoral planning students in research universities in North America and abroad. Lead efforts to develop measures for assessing university planning school performance while also instituting outcome based evaluation as chair of the Planning Accreditation Board.

An active member of the UIC community he has served on the faculty senate, the university promotion and tenure committee, chaired the academic services committee and served on every variety of college and departmental committees in his 29 years at UIC. Hoch was honored as a UIC University Scholar in 2007. Currently he is helping coordinate implementation of the 20 year master plan for the UIC campus and in Fall 2009 helped coordinate efforts by The Chicago Recovery Partnership and the State of Illinois Recovery Initiative to assess the impact of the federal stimulus on local recovery efforts.

Professor Hoch received his doctorate in Urban Planning from UCLA in 1981. After a short stint at Iowa State he settled in Chicago teaching urban planning in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Hoch has written several books on the conduct of planning, most recently with Frank So and Linda Dalton, editing The Practice of Local Government Planning (International City Managers Association, 2000); as well as authoring What Planners Do: Power, Politics and Persuasion. (Planners Press, 1994). He has also published research on housing and community development including Under One Roof edited with George Hemmens and Jana Carp (SUNY Press, 1996) and authoring with Robert Slayton. New Homeless and Old: Community and the Skid Row Hotel. (Temple University Press, 1989). Hoch has published articles on planning theory, practice and housing in The Journal of the American Planning Association, The Journal of Planning Education and Research, The Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Planning Theory, Planning Theory & Practice, Plan Canada, Town Planning Review and other social science journals.

Hoch teaches planning theory, physical planning and professional workshop courses in the Urban Planning and Policy Program. Recent student planning project clients include: for the Chicago Housing Authority the Washington Park Neighborhood Affordable Housing Plan (2003), two commercial character plans for the Village of Oak Park, Illinois (2004), master plan studios for the UIC campus in 2006 and 2009 and two corridor study plans for the City of Chicago Department of Zoning (2010). Hoch has twice received university curriculum grant awards.

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Research Interests

Affordable housing and homeless; planning practice; planning theory.

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UPP 500 History and Theory of Planning
UPP 501 Urban Space, Place and Institutions
UPP 505 Plan Making
UPP 506 Plan Making Studio
UPP 517 Regional and Metropolitan Wide Planning UPP 550 Spatial Planning & Design Studio I
UPP 552 Spatial Planning Studio
UPP 583 Advanced Planning Theory

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Recognition / Awards

UIC University Scholar, 2007-2010

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2011. The planning research agenda: planning theory for practice. Town Planning Review. 82(2): vii-xv.

2010.  Contributions to planning theory in an international context: the work of Peter Marris, Planning Theory and Practice 11 (2): 269

2009. Planning craft: How do planners compose plans? Planning Theory 9(2):219-241.*

2007. Pragmatic communicative action theory, Journal of Planning Education and Research 26(3): 272-283.*

2007. Making plans: Representation & intention, Planning Theory 6(1): 15-35.*

2007. How plan mandates work: Affordable Housing in Illinois. Journal of the American Planning Association 73 (1):86-99.*

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Room 241 (MC 348)

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