The CAPLA community is dedicated to nurturing and teaching design and planning methodologies grounded in responsible and sustainable real-world problem-solving with the potential to energize, improve and inspire. CAPLA expands the influence and scope of the design and planning professional through an engaged process of making, risk-taking, and knowledge-building in support of a resilient and thriving natural and built environment in the 21st Century.

To serve this vision, CAPLA will build on areas of historic excellence and competitive advantage by:

  • Advancing the University’s historic land grant mission through design and planning assistance to diverse communities throughout the state of Arizona. Through its new center in Downtown Tucson, CAPLA will serve Tucson and Arizona in the creation of a “Communiversity” --a laboratory for the development and testing of design and planning strategies.
  • Achieving international recognition as the leading educational institution in sustainable design, planning, and management for arid regions. CAPLA’s strength is the education of architects, landscape architects, and urban planners with a sensibility honed on the edge conditions of an extreme climate on a major international border. 
  • Developing and supporting cross-college interdisciplinary research strongly grounded in the local context of the Sonoran Desert, as well as expand research partnerships in arid regions worldwide to generate sustainability knowledge that is portable to other localities facing similar challenges.