Course Description

Spring 2022 session was held online on Zoom, with a Feb 23-March 16 application period.

Fall 2022 classes are open only to alumni. We hope to offer LIVE classes to a new cohort in spring of 2023! Class descriptions will be updated in Feb 2023.

All classes include time for Questions & Answers with presenters and an interactive group exercise at the end of the session.

I appreciate how CPI makes use of time. You covered a lot in just 18 hours of total class time. It was clear that each hour of programming was intensely thought about and planned. Well done…I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a training that so effectively maximized learning-per-hour as the Citizens Planning Institute training does. It was a great experience, thank you. Joey Bilyk, Spring 2018

Core Session 1: Introduction to City Planning

April 13, Wednesday, 6:00-8:00pm

Unit 1: Neighborhood Planning. Learn about the history and evolution of planning in Philadelphia and how you can be involved in your neighborhood’s plan. A neighborhood plan emerges from a planning process that both engages all stakeholders in the community and reflects a collective vision for the future of that community. Your “Neighborhood Planning Workbook” outlines a DIY approach to doing a neighborhood plan. Another approach is to employ the services of a professional planning firm. Learn about methods of community engagement from a nationally recognized local firm and their experiences working on various Philadelphia neighborhood plans. 

Unit 2: City scale planning. Positive change starts with a plan. How do Philadelphia’s city planners try to make sure that change is ‘positive’ for everyone? Learn about the role and relationships city planners have with city agencies that have budgets and how they try to balance many conflicting interests in the community, and citywide. In group work, you’ll work together to brainstorm projects and solutions to common neighborhood issues. 

Meet your instructors

Mindy Watts

Principal, Interface Studio

Mindy Watts

Principal, Interface Studio

Mindy Watts is a Principal at Interface Studio, a planning and urban design firm based in Philadelphia that has won national awards for excellence in grassroots initiatives and public outreach. In her 15 years at Interface, Mindy has worked on many Philadelphia projects ranging from citywide policy strategies to neighborhood and corridor plans, as well as research projects for community-driven advocacy efforts. Her recent local projects include an update of the Philadelphia Land Bank's strategic plan, ongoing work with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to develop Philadelphia’s first urban agriculture plan, a plan for a public art program along the Delaware River waterfront, and land use planning in the Grays Ferry neighborhood. With a background in printmaking, Mindy brings an artistic sensibility to her planning work and the graphic communication and public engagement that Interface Studio emphasizes. She taught a practice-based workshop for first-year city planning graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design for five years and serves on the board of The Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia.

Mindy Watts is a Principal at Interface Studio, a planning and urban design firm based in Philadelphia that has won national awards for excellence in grassroots initiatives and public outreach. In her 15 years at Interface, Mindy has worked on many P...

Nicole Ozdemir

Senior Planner, Philadelphia City Planning Commission

Nicole Ozdemir

Senior Planner, Philadelphia City Planning Commission

Nicole Ozdemir is a senior planner at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), who concentrates her work efforts on public engagement and equitable development. Nicole is passionate about public service and strives to improve the lives of Philadelphians with her work. Nicole also teaches a city planning introduction course at Temple University. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Studies from SUNY University at Albany, and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from University of Pennsylvania. Nicole enjoys exploring Philadelphia’s many small streets on foot, usually with her husband and their kindergartener in tow.

Nicole Ozdemir is a senior planner at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), who concentrates her work efforts on public engagement and equitable development. Nicole is passionate about public service and strives to improve the lives of Ph...