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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

Special Topic #1: Commercial Corridor Development
Unit 1: Business Attraction on Corridors.
Unit 2: Real Estate Development on Corridors.
Special Topic #2- TOD’s & the Role of Public Transit
Unit 1: Public Transit in Philadelphia.
Unit 2:  Transit-Oriented Development.
Special Topic #3- Healthy Communities & Environmental Justice
Unit 1: Environmental Justice 101
Unit 2: Health Impacts of Planning 101

Fall 2011

Special Topic #1: Commercial Corridor Development
Unit 1: Business Attraction on Corridors.
Unit 2: Real Estate Development on Corridors.
Special Topic #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
Special Topic #3- Greening Philadelphia & Greenworks on the Ground
Unit 1: Building Energy Efficiency and Food System Planning.
Unit 2: Greenworks on the Ground: Community Best Practices 

Spring 2012

Special Topic: Greening Philadelphia through Better Design
Unit 1: Green City, Clean Waters-- What it Means for You and Your Community.
Unit 2: Green Schoolyards.
Special Topic #2: Vacant Land Policy and Interventions
Unit 1: Vacant Property Policy and Systems.
Unit 2: Green Interventions- Philadelphia Horticultural Society
Special Topic #3- The New Zoning Code: What Do I Need to Know?

Fall 2012

Special Topic #1: Complete Streets and Commercial Corridors
Unit 1: Complete Streets.
Unit 2: Commercial Corridors.
Special Topic #2: Making Your Organization More Effective
Special Topic #3- Urban Design Principles

Unit 1: Urban Design- Grand scale to Guerilla
Unit 2: Form & Design in the New Zoning Code.

Spring 2013

Special Topic #1: Reinventing Commercial Corridors
Unit 1: Commerce Department Programs. 
Unit 2: Reinventing Corridors 
Special Topic #2: Investing in Our Future-the Capital Program
Unit 1: Philadelphia’s Capital Program.
Unit 2: Sustainable City Investments 
Special Topic #3- Strengthening Your Organization
Unit 1:  Panel of Peers
Unit 2: Tools to Run Better Meetings

Fall 2013

Special Topic #1- L&I and Zoning Committee Best Practices
Unit 1:  What does L&I Do?
Unit 2:  Zoning Committees Best Practices
Special Topic #2: Leveraging City Funds
Unit 1: Where Does the Money Go?
Unit 2: Public Assets- the Critical Role of Volunteers
Special Topic #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

Special Topic #1- Riverfront Development & Citizen Advocacy
Unit 1:  Civic Vision to Implementation- the Central Delaware Master Plan
Unit 2:  The “Hidden” Schuylkill River Transformation 
Special Topic #2: Good Planning Begins with Good Data
Unit 1: Data Drives Decisions
Unit 2: Saving and Presenting Data
Special Topic #3: Parkland Stewardship & Green Infrastructure
Unit 1: Parks & Recreation: Park Volunteer Opportunities
Unit 2: Green Infrastructure Through Water Management 

Fall 2014

Special Topic #1- Healthy Communities &  Green Streets
Unit 1:  Planning Healthy Places
Unit 2:  Complete Green Streets & Walkability 
Special Topic #2: Community Planning Tools & Techniques
Unit 1: Community Visioning
Unit 2: Housing Programs
Special Topic #3: Conserving Community Character
Unit 1: You Are Here: Put Yourself on the Map!
Unit 2: Protecting Your Community Assets

Spring 2015

Special Topic #1- Climate Change Preparedness
Unit 1:  What does Climate Change mean for Philadelphia?
Unit 2:  Getting Prepared… with the Water Department
Special Topic #2: The Land Bank & Community Access
Unit 1: The Philadelphia Land Bank
Unit 2: Community Land Access 
Special Topic #3: Equitable Development
Unit 1: Equitable Development Strategies
Unit 2: The Collaborative- a Case Study

Fall 2015

Special Topic #1: Creative Placemaking
Unit 1:  Destination Frankford
Unit 2:  Culture Mapping- What Assets are in your community?
Special Topic #2: Urban Green Spaces
Unit 1: Fairmount Park Conservancy 
Unit 2: Schoolyard Greening 
Special Topic #3: Community Safety Through Design
Unit 1: How does Physical Environment Affect Crime?
Unit 2: CPTED in Action  

Spring 2016

Special Topic #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
Special Topic #2: Public Spaces for People
Unit 1: Start with Building
Unit 2: Activating Triangles and More!
Special Topic #3: Neighbors Helping Neighbors- a Citizens Toolkit
Unit 1: The Essential Rules for Engaging Your Neighbors
Unit 2: On the Ground Stories

Fall 2016

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


Special Topic #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
Special Topic #2: Clean and Green!
Unit 1: Greenworks, TreePhilly, Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Unit 2: Zero Waste & Litter
Special Topic #3: Walkable Neighborhoods
Unit 1: Urban Life & Walking
Unit 2: Get Healthy with Walking!

FALL 2017

Special Topic #1: Diversifying Your Organization
Unit 1: Philadephia: A Diverse City Divided
Unit 2: Panel Discussion
Special Topic #2: Fixing Neighborhood Issues
Unit 1: L&I - Information is Power
Unit 2: Philly311 - How to Get Issues Fixed in Your Neighborhood
Special Topic #3: Resources for Neighborhood Development


Special Topic #1: Preparing Your Community
Unit 1: Climate Change and Your Neighborhood
Unit 2: Bringing Neighbors to the Table During a Disaster
Special Topic #2: Accessing Free City Information
Unit 1: OpenMaps, Atlas, Property, and Vacancy
Unit 2: Community Health, Landmarks, and Open Data
Special Topic #3: Safe Streets & Vision Zero
Unit 1: Vision Zero Introduction
Unit 2: Designing Streets for People

Fall 2018

Special Topic #1: Philly Parks and You
Special Topic #2: Affordable Housing
Unit 1: Making and Keeping Housing Affordable
Unit 2: Affordable Rental Housing
Special Topic #3: Advocating for Your Cause
Unit 1: People Power
Unit 2: Advocacy Organizations

Spring 2019

Special Topic #1: Designing Places for Everyone
Unit 1: Participatory Design
Unit 2: Rebuild and Resident Engagement
Special Topic #2: Reducing Litter
Unit 1: Zero Waste and Litter
Unit 2: Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
Special Topic #3: Coalitions: Working with Other Organizations
Unit 1: When and How to Form a Coalition
Unit 2: How to Address Conflict Between Organizations

FALL 2019

Special Topic #1: Zoning 2.0
Special Topic #2: Identifying Community Assets
Special Topic #3: Telling Your Neighborhood's Story - How to Have a Voice in Local News