Florida State University

Department of Urban & Regional Planning

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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April Jackson

Assistant Professor

Areas of Interest: Planning and implementation of large-scale projects with a focus on the built environment, mixed-income and choice neighborhood redevelopment efforts, new urbanism as a tool to revitalize urban communities, and planning for communities of color.

BEL 345


(850) 644-8533

Curriculum Vitae

April’s research focuses on how professional planners and universities plan for, engage with, and train students to work in communities of color. More specifically, she examines the ways that new urbanism can be used to develop mixed-income communities, as well as how planning programs can integrate issues of diversity and cultural competence into curriculum and departmental culture.

Her dissertation research explores plan implementation and how local actors use design to create communities that are diverse, well connected, equitable, and promote a sense of community in three mixed-income developments in Chicago. Findings indicate implementation of new urbanism was constrained by limited interagency coordination, restrictive design policies, low community buy-in, and exclusive marketing and occupancy practices. Her current research explores how Choice Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) facilities more effective implementation of the built environment and community building practices compared to HOPE VI projects in Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL. She is particularly interested in how and whether CNI have reconciled some of the inconsistent program outcomes of HOPE VI in terms of the built environment and community building.

April is also working on two projects that examine different aspects around how planning programs can work towards creating more inclusive places that value and promote diversity. The first recently completed project is a study on the climate for diversity within urban planning programs and was conducted in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Planners of Color Interest Group. Results showed that while the majority of students report an overall supportive and positive climate for diversity within their programs, students still report occurrences of bias and discrimination, describe the shortcomings of a lack of faculty diversity within planning schools, and perceive persistent challenges around diversity within planning practice. The second project extends this work in partnership with the American Planning Association, which examines how practitioners perceive or experience diversity within the urban planning field and the steps necessary to bridge planning higher education and culturally competent practices in the planning profession. A third research project spans four institutions, which includes FSU, University of Utah, California State University-Los Angeles, and New Mexico State University and tests various pedagogical techniques (e.g. activity-based learning, subject-based learning and community practice) to understand how public affairs departments can train students to more effectively work in diverse communities through building cultural competence.

In addition to research, April teaches courses in Neighborhood Planning, Urban Design, Affordable Housing, Graphic Communications, and Research Methods. Prior to her faculty position she worked as an architect and urban designer at Destefano Partners and AECOM in Chicago, IL and Irvine, CA on public housing redevelopment projects, neighborhood revitalization plans, and new urbanist communities in the U.S., China, and the Middle East.


B.A (Architecture) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
M.Arch & M.U.P (Architecture and Urban Planning) University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 2004
Ph.D. (Urban Planning), University of Illinois at Chicago, 2015

Selected Publications

Jackson, A. (2018). Barriers to Integrating New Urbanism in Mixed Income Housing Plans in Chicago: Developer, Housing Official, and Consultant Perspectives. Housing Policy Debate. https://doi.org/10.1080/10511482.2018.1433703

Jackson, A., Greenlee, A., Garcia-Zambrana, I., Lee, A., and Chrisinger, B. (2018). All Talk No Walk: Student Perceptions on Integration of Diversity and Practice in Planning Curriculum. Vol 33, Issue 5. https://doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2018.1548207

Jackson, A., Parker, M., Turner DeVera, L., Garcia-Zambrana, I. Holmes, T., Shiau, E., and Medina, C. (2018). Moving the Needle: Early Findings on Faculty Approaches to Integrate Culturally Competent Pedagogy into Educational Spaces. eJournal of Public Affairs, 7 (2). http://www.ejournalofpublicaffairs.org/moving-the-needle/

Turner DeVera, L., Jackson, A., and Parker, M. (2018) Intro Essay: Setting the Stage for Highlighting Cultural Competency Pedagogy. eJournal of Public Affairs, 7 (2). http://www.ejournalofpublicaffairs.org/cultural-competency-pedagogy-in-graduate-public-affairs-education/

Greenlee, A., Jackson, A., Garcia-Zambrana, I., Chrisinger, B., and Lee, A. (2018) Were Are We Going? Where Have we Been?: The Climate for Diversity Within Urban Planning Educational Programs. Journal of Planning Education and Research. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/10.1177/0739456X18815740

Jackson, A. (submitted). Accountability Matters: Beyond Commitment, The Role Of Accountability Mechanisms In Implementing Plans In Mixed Income Communities. Revise and Resubmit.

Jackson, A., Aram, Y., and Kleit, R. (submitted). What else do we need to know to create mixed-income communities that promote equity and inclusion?. In Mark Joseph and Amy Khare’s (Eds) What Works to Promote Inclusive, Equitable Mixed-Income, Mixed-Use Communities. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Revise and Resubmit.

Jackson, A. and Marques, M. (submitted). DIY Do’s and Don’ts: Limitations to Building University Partnerships with Low Resource Communities of Color. Revise and Resubmit.

Jackson, A. (submitted). The Elephant in the Room: Achieving Cultural Competence and Racial Inclusion in New Urbanist Communities. In Emily Talen’s (Eds) Research Agenda for New Urbanism. Routeledge. Revise and Resubmit.

Jackson, A. (submitted). Little HOPE, Little Transformation: Three Local Organizing Strategies to Implement Residential School Integration in a Mixed-income Community. Under Review.