Neighborhood Planning and Community Design

“Techniques related to consensus building and cultural sensitivity bolster my success as not only a community liaison but as an asset to my team.” 

– Jenna Osbun, Class of 2017


Kelly Kinahan
Minjee Kim


The Neighborhood Planning + Community Design specialization is concerned with the creation, preservation, and revitalization of neighborhoods and other small-area places, including commercial and public spaces that serve resident populations. It focuses on building the economic, physical, social, and political capital necessary to effect change through neighborhood revitalization strategies that aim to design equitable places and build human capital. Neighborhood planning evolved from the failures of urban renewal and anti-poverty-based policies of the 1950s and 1960s. In response to the failures of top-down approaches to revitalizing urban neighborhoods, neighborhood planning emerged as a bottom-up, place-based strategy to incorporate community organizations and residents in the planning process. Community Design further shapes neighborhoods as planners work alongside community residents to design urban environments derived from place-based solutions that build human capital and promote equity and social justice. The housing component also covers the general issue of providing decent, safe, and affordable housing for all residents, in locations that promote the well-being of households and the community.

Neighborhood Planning + Community Design-focused planners are employed in both the public and private sectors with city agencies, planning consulting firms, neighborhood organizations, community development corporations, and other non-profit organizations. They often deal with the formulation and implementation of neighborhood plans and housing and development initiatives for special population groups (e.g., low-income, elderly, minorities), as well as for mainstream populations. Community planners are increasingly being called upon to assist public officials in their pursuit of economic development and neighborhood revitalization. The courses in the specialization cover the variety of subjects necessary for practice within the field, including the actors found within the field of planning focused on neighborhood planning and community development and the study and critical evaluation of past and current policies. Students are also taught the basic methods of urban design, site design, economic development, and civic engagement.

Required Courses

Students specializing in neighborhood planning and community design must take the following two required courses:

  • URP 5743 Neighborhood Planning
  • URP 5885 Graphic Communications for Urban Planning and Design

Students are also required to take one of the following courses:

  • URP 5540 Economic Development
  • URP 5749 Affordable Housing Development
  • URP 5805 Multicultural Urbanism
  • URP 5873 Site Design and Land-Use Analysis
  • URP 5939 Public-Private Development
  • URP 5939 Urban Planning and Real Estate Development
  • URP 5939 Economics of Real Estate Development

Prospective students should contact the department’s Academic Program Specialist for more information about the neighborhood planning and community design specialization. Current students should consult the graduate student handbook for more details about specialization and degree requirements

Employment Placements

Recent Internships and Job Placements

  • Design Workshop
  • Wantman Group
  • New York City Housing and Preservation Department
  • Pratt Institute Center for Community Development
  • City of Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency
  • The Tallahassee Lenders’ Consortium
  • Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
  • WSP / Parsons Brickerhoff
  • Big Bend Homeless Coalition
  • Florida Housing Coalition
  • Hoyt Architects
  • City of Tallahassee Office of Economic Vitality
  • Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission
  • Community Preservation and Development Corporation
  • Department of Housing and Community Development of the District of Columbia
  • Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
  • AmeriCorps

Specialization Research at FSU

Recent research by neighborhood planning and community design faculty includes:

  • Mixed-income and choice neighborhoods
  • Diversity and culturally competent pedagogy
  • Community participation and engagement
  • Planning for LGBTQ neighborhoods
  • Planning for communities of color
  • Climate change and adaptation strategies for marginalized communities
  • Neighborhood change and historic preservation planning
  • Planning in shrinking cities

Our Neighborhood Planning And Design Project / Research webpage describes recent projects by DURP faculty and students.