Neighborhood Planning and Community Development Research

Faculty with Research Interests in Neighborhood Planning and Community Development

Kelly Kinahan
Meaghan McSorley
Tisha Holmes
Kerry Fang

Student Projects and Research at FSU

Masters students in neighborhood planning and community development have created plans and reports for community partners through courses in the specialization. Recent plans include:

Asset Mapping in a Rural Context: Asset-Based Community Development in Cairo, Georgia

The multi-student professional project titled “Asset Mapping in a Rural Context: Asset-Based Community Development in Cairo, Georgia,” conducted by Michael Greco, Lily Savage, and Stella Souza, utilizes the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) framework to identify and leverage local resources for rural economic and community development in Cairo, Georgia. Through participatory methodologies including surveys, interviews, and workshops, the research uncovers a broad spectrum of assets encompassing physical infrastructure, cultural heritage, social networks, natural environment, and human capital. It emphasizes the importance of community engagement in asset identification and the potential for rural areas to drive development by capitalizing on inherent strengths. By engaging the community through the asset mapping process and by creating a dynamic StoryMap, the initiative not only fosters local participation and investment but is now a resource and tool for the community. This model demonstrates how leveraging intrinsic strengths, coupled with innovative tools and community involvement, can pave the way for sustainable, community-driven growth, setting a precedent for rural development strategies.

Frenchtown Carter-Howell-Strong Park Community Survey Results

Students in the DURP Neighborhood Planning course collaborated with the Frenchtown Community Action Team and the City of Tallahassee Neighborhood Affairs Division to conduct a survey of residents and other users of Carter-Howell-Strong Park. This report presents the survey results, which will help guide the implementation of funds earmarked for park improvements.

Analysis of the Pedestrian Environment in the Lafayette Park Neighborhood & Midtown in Tallahassee, FL

In collaboration with the Lafayette Park Neighborhood Association, students in the DURP Neighborhood Planning course and Lafayette Park residents worked together to collect data related to the community’s pedestrian environment. This report presents the results of the evaluation, including detailed maps of different elements of the pedestrian environment. The report also contributes to the existing conditions analysis and community engagement components of the ongoing update to the land use and mobility sections of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for Tallahassee/Leon County, led by Halff Associates.

Providence Plan Refresh

The Providence neighborhood was selected to participate in the City of Tallahassee’s Neighborhood First Planning Process, an initiative dedicated to developing community capacity in the plan-making process to address areas for progress in Tallahassee neighborhoods. In 2021, the City of Tallahassee and Providence Neighborhood Association contacted the Florida State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning Mark & Marianne Barnebey Planning and Development Lab and Studio to assist in these plan-making efforts by developing a completion matrix report, community engagement activities, and implementation strategy report. In September of 2022, the Barnebey Lab Team received an Award of Merit in the Grassroots Initiative Category from the American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter for their work on the Providence Neighborhood Plan Refresh. 

Frenchtown: Planning for a Better Block

This plan was developed by second-year DURP urban design in collaboration with FDPL Studio, the Better Block Foundation, the City of Tallahassee, FAMU, and Frenchtown community leaders. The document provides an overview of the planning and implementation process of the Better Block project in the short-term, and also offers long-term urban design concepts for the Frenchtown neighborhood.

South City Master Plan: Embracing South City

This plan was created by graduate students in the DURP Urban Design course in collaboration with Graceful Solutions Inc., a local non-profit focused on affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization in the South City neighborhood. Overall aims of the plan include embracing the existing community and internal assets while working towards strengthening and building the South City neighborhood capacity and enhancing the built environment. Students developed a conceptual design for five potential districts, which include: A Transit-oriented development, the South City Greenway, the Cottages, the Community Hub, and the Affordable Housing district. Implementation strategies are also provided, which offer recommendations for partnerships, planning and policy tools, and funding opportunities.

Quality of Life Plans for South City, Frenchtown, and Providence

These Quality of Life plans were created by graduate students in the DURP Neighborhood Planning course. A quality-of-life plan is a long-term comprehensive approach to urban redevelopment that uses neighborhood planning as a central tool for improving the quality of life for community residents. Each plan is based on conducting neighborhood assessments, citizen engagement, and input from key stakeholders. Plans address several key issues areas around education, youth development, community health and safety, sustainability, affordable housing, and economic development.

#Paint the Pavement

In partnership with the Ash Gallery, Synoptikos and students participate in the annual Frenchtown Heritage Artwalk. This collaboration between the Ash Gallery and community partners seeks to build community through art, food, and music. DURP students have continued tactical urbanism in Frenchtown through #paintthepavement where students paint artistic and creative driveways along Georgia Street during the Artwalk.

Masters students in neighborhood planning and community design participate in a variety of studio projects. Recent studies include “Vision 19: A Catalyst for Change in the Harbors”, “Preliminary Community Food Assessment”, “College Park District Action Plan”, “Creating a Community of Scholars at the Florida State University”, “Vision for a Sustainable Future: Jefferson County, FL”, and “South Monroe/Adams Corridor: Creating a Sense of Place.”

Students have also conducted their own independent research, including “Downtown Revitalization & the Case of Tallahassee”, “And Justice for All: Assessing the Effectiveness of Inclusionary Zoning Policies A Case Study of Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts”, “The Uneven Geography of Opportunity: Measuring the Spatial Distribution of Opportunity in Florida”, “Strategies for Increasing Active Commuting to Florida High”, “A Healthy Corner Store Initiative: A Program Proposal to the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency”, “Vacant Land Reform in New Orleans”, and “Determining the Optimal Location for a Comprehensive Homeless Service Center.”