Neighborhood Planning and Community Development

“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
Meaghan McSorley

Affiliate Faculty

Tisha Holmes
Kerry Fang


The Neighborhood Planning + Community Development 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 and plan for 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 Development further shapes neighborhoods as planners work alongside community residents to derive place-based solutions that build human capital and promote equity and social justice. 

Neighborhood Planning + Community Development-focused planners are employed in both the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with city agencies, planning consulting firms, neighborhood organizations, community development corporations, and other community-based 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, persons with disabilities), as well as for mainstream populations. Community planners are increasingly being called upon to assist public officials in their pursuit of economic development, affordable housing, 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 and tools for collaborating or partnering with a variety of organizations and actors, plan development and policy implementation tools, and civic engagement.

Specialization Coursework

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

  • URP 5743 Neighborhood Planning
  • URP 5749 Community Development

The following courses are electives that align with Neighborhood Planning and Community Development Specialization:

  • URP 5885 Graphic Communications for Urban Planning and Design
  • URP 5540 Economic Development
  • URP 5939 Zoning for Equity
  • URP 5805 Multicultural Urbanism
  • URP 5526 Healthy Communities
  • URP 5742 Problems and Issues in Housing and Community Development
  • URP 5445 Climate Change and Community Resilience
  • URP 5939 Urban Planning and 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 webpage for Neighborhood Planning And Development Project / Research describes recent projects by DURP faculty and students.