The Citizens Planning Institute has been envisioned by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission to be its official education and outreach arm. The focus of the Institute is to educate citizens about the role good planning and implementation play in helping to create communities of lasting value. Through education, we are building a constituency for good planning.
Thanks to a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, a Pilot course was developed and delivered in November of 2010. The series of three evening “Citizen Planner” classes provided ‘101’ level introduction on planning issues and principles, land use and zoning, and the development process.
Thirty participants were selected from over 80 applications- representing 24 neighborhoods and a wide diversity of civic organizations. On December 6, a reception at City Hall was held to honor the ‘graduates’ and instructors/contributors. The Mayor commended the ‘learners’ for their enthusiasm and commitment to Philadelphia and encouraged them to influence others with their passion for positive change through planning.
The success of the Pilot has resulted in the continued expansion of the CPI course series. The Spring 2011 course added three new “elective” classes and the Fall 2011 course replaced these with new elective topics and added a “course project”. Participants successfully completing the three classes comprising the Core Course, two of the three electives, and the “course project”, earn a Certificate of Completion as a “Citizen Planner” of Philadelphia. Following the Spring 2012 course “graduation”, there are now 120 Citizen Planners representing over 70 different neighborhoods.
Volunteer instructors (30 including Spring 2012) represent a variety of public and private sector organizations.
The CPI has received funding support from the following: the William Penn Foundation, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.