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A Guide to Community Planning Academies

CPI Director Donna J. Carney wrote a a step-by-step guide for creating, managing, and growing a community planning academies like CPI.

Get the report from the American Planning Association

What is CPI?

Citizens Planning Institute (CPI) is the education and outreach arm of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

CPI introduces Philadelphians, who “love where they live”, to the activities of city planning, zoning and development so they can help shape and preserve their neighborhoods.

CPI’s main activity is an eight-week course, offered every spring and fall, to a new and diverse group of thirty residents who brings new-found skills and resources back to their neighborhood organizations.

A Better Philadelphia- Plan On It!

Graphic reading "I shape this city" on a blue background with a yellow map of Philadelphia.

Frequently Asked

  • What is planning?

    City planning helps guide how to improve housing, neighborhoods, jobs, transportation, and public space. Plans make recommendations based on community input and on studies of existing properties, demographics, housing, and transit issues. They also identify how to turn the ideas in the plan into action.

  • Who is the CPI course for?

    Anyone who loves where they live! Whether you’ve been involved in your neighborhood for years, or if you’re a new neighbor—if you want to make a difference in your community, CPI is for you!

  • What will I take away from the experience?

    Not only will you learn from instructors who are leaders in the fields of planning, development, and community development, you will also be connected with the growing network of Citizen Planners across the City who are working on many of the same neighborhood challenges. The CPI course provides practical tools individuals can take back to their neighborhood organizations and communities so they can engage in planning issues on equal footing with other stakeholders.

  • When does the course take place?

    The course runs every Spring and Fall on Wednesday evenings.

    The Spring course is in April and May.

    The Fall course is in October and November.

  • How do I apply?

    Applications are available on this website.

    To learn when applications are available for future sessions, you can sign-up to receive our e-newsletter at the top of our website.

    If you or someone you know requires a print application, call ‪(215) 683-4658 or email cpi@phila.gov.