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Previous Class Topics

Three elective classes per semester have been offered since Spring 2011. Participants select a minimum of 2 electives in order to meet the course requirements. If you have ideas for elective topics or an interest in presenting in class, let us know!

Spring 2011

Elective #1: Commercial Corridor Development
Unit One: Business Attraction on Corridors.
Unit Two: Real Estate Development on Corridors.

Elective #2- TOD’s & the Role of Public Transit
Unit 1: Public Transit in Philadelphia.
Unit 2:  Transit-Oriented Development.

Elective #3- Healthy Communities & Environmental Justice
Unit 1: Environmental Justice 101
Unit 2: Health Impacts of Planning 101

Fall 2011

Elective #1: Commercial Corridor Development
Unit One: Business Attraction on Corridors.
Unit Two: Real Estate Development on Corridors.

Elective #2- Preserving a Sense of Place in Neighborhoods
Unit 1: What is Historic Preservation?
Unit 2: The Role of Historic Preservation in Revitalization of Philadelphia’s Neighborhoods

Elective #3- Greening Philadelphia & Greenworks on the Ground
Unit One: Building Energy Efficiency and Food System Planning.
Unit 2: Greenworks on the Ground: Community Best Practices 

Spring 2012

Elective #1: Greening Philadelphia through Better Design
Unit One: Green City, Clean Waters-- What it Means for You and Your Community.
Unit Two: Green Schoolyards.

Elective #2: Vacant Land Policy and Interventions
Unit 1: Vacant Property Policy and Systems.
Unit 2: Green Interventions- Philadelphia Horticultural Society

Elective #3- The New Zoning Code: What Do I Need to Know?

Fall 2012

Elective #1: Complete Streets and Commercial Corridors
Unit One: Complete Streets.
Unit Two: Commercial Corridors.

Elective #2: Making Your Organization More Effective

Elective #3- Urban Design Principles
Unit One: Urban Design- Grand scale to Guerilla
Unit Two: Form & Design in the New Zoning Code.

Spring 2013

Elective #1: Reinventing Commercial Corridors
Unit One: Commerce Department Programs. 
Unit Two: Reinventing Corridors 

Elective #2: Investing in Our Future-the Capital Program
Unit One: Philadelphia’s Capital Program.
Unit 2: Sustainable City Investments 

Elective #3- Strengthening Your Organization
Unit 1:  Panel of Peers
Unit 2: Tools to Run Better Meetings

Fall 2013

Elective #1- L&I and Zoning Committee Best Practices
Unit 1:  What does L&I Do?
Unit 2:  Zoning Committees Best Practices

Elective #2: Leveraging City Funds
Unit One: Where Does the Money Go?
Unit 2: Public Assets- the Critical Role of Volunteers

Elective #3: Vacant Land & Community Land Access
Unit 1: The 'Who, What & Why' of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA)
Unit 2: Tools & Tactics for Community Land Access 

Spring 2014

Elective #1- Riverfront Development & Citizen Advocacy
Unit 1:  Civic Vision to Implementation- the Central Delaware Master Plan
Unit 2:  The “Hidden” Schuylkill River Transformation 

Elective #2: Good Planning Begins with Good Data
Unit 1: Data Drives Decisions
Unit 2: Saving and Presenting Data

Elective #3: Parkland Stewardship & Green Infrastructure
Unit One: Parks & Recreation: Park Volunteer Opportunities
Unit 2: Green Infrastructure Through Water Management 

Fall 2014

Elective #1- Healthy Communities &  Green Streets
Unit 1:  Planning Healthy Places
Unit 2:  Complete Green Streets & Walkability 

Elective #2: Community Planning Tools & Techniques
Unit 1: Community Visioning
Unit 2: Housing Programs

Elective #3: Conserving Community Character
Unit One: You Are Here: Put Yourself on the Map!
Unit 2: Protecting Your Community Assets

Spring 2015

Elective #1- Climate Change Preparedness
Unit 1:  What does Climate Change mean for Philadelphia?
Unit 2:  Getting Prepared… with the Water Department

Elective #2: The Land Bank & Community Access
Unit 1: The Philadelphia Land Bank
Unit 2: Community Land Access 

Elective #3: Equitable Development
Unit One: Equitable Development Strategies
Unit 2: The Collaborative- a Case Study

Fall 2015

Elective #1: Creative Placemaking
Unit 1:  Destination Frankford
Unit 2:  Culture Mapping- What Assets are in your community?

Elective #2: Urban Green Spaces
Unit 1: Fairmount Park Conservancy 
Unit 2: Schoolyard Greening 

Elective #3: Community Safety Through Design
Unit One: How does physical environment affect crime?
Unit Two: CPTED in action  

Spring 2016

Elective #1: Commercial Corridors Reality Check
Unit 1: What does it take to make a corridor successful?
Unit 2: On the Street- successes on 52nd Street and N. 5th Street
Elective #2: Public Spaces for People
Unit 1: Start with Building
Unit 2: Activating Triangles and More!
Elective #3: Neighbors Helping Neighbors- a Citizens Toolkit
Unit 1: The Essential Rules for Engaging Your Neighbors
Unit 2: On the Ground Stories

Fall 2016

Elective #1: Community Engagement 101
Elective #2: Preserving Historic Resources
Unit 1: The Field of Historic Preservation
Unit 2: Tackling Preservation from a Grassroots Perspective
Elective #3: Filling the Fridge: Gardens, Supermarkets & Pantries in Your Neighborhood
Unit 1: Urban Agriculture
Unit 2: Food Buying Alternatives & Supermarket Advocacy


Elective #1: Community Organizing + Asset Mapping
Unit 1: Surveying the Landscape of Your Community
Unit 2: Case Studies: getting the City to acknowledge Muslim holidays + Stadium Stompers
Elective #2: Clean and Green!
Unit 1: Greenworks, TreePhilly, Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Unit 2: Zero Waste & Litter
Elective #3: Walkable Neighborhoods
Unit 1: Urban Life & Walking
Unit 2: Get Healthy with Walking!

FALL 2017

Elective #1: Diversifying Your Organization
Unit 1: Philadephia: A Diverse City Divided
Unit 2: Panel Discussion
Elective #2: Fixing Neighborhood Issues
Unit 1: L&I - information is power
Unit 2: Philly311 - how to get issues fixed in your neighborhood
Elective #3: Resources for Neighborhood Development


Elective #1: Preparing Your Community
Unit 1: Climate change and your neighborhood
Unit 2: Bringing neighbors to the table during a disaster
Elective #2: Accessing Free City Information
Unit 1: OpenMaps, Atlas, Property, and Vacancy
Unit 2: Community Health, Landmarks, and Open Data
Elective #3: Safe Streets & Vision Zero
Unit 1: Vision Zero Introduction
Unit 2: Designing streets for people