Here's a proposed mission statement: The Harvard Urban Planning program teaches students how to understand, analyze, and influence the variety of forces—social, economic, cultural, legal, political, ecological, technological, aesthetic, and so forth—shaping the built environment. More than any individual creative act, these forces affect the “form, function, and feel” of the built environment in ways not fully appreciated by scholars and professionals alike. The built environment, in turn, shapes the quality of human experience at work, residence, and play, thereby linking Design School-styled urban planning to a central human project worthy of any profession.
(That's also the issue where Lynn Becker wrote about Chicago's recent building boom and design. You can find the text at his site here.)