Course Overview

Here’s an overview of what to expect.

More and more people should participate in CPI because it instills people with one of the greatest forms of knowledge – the knowledge that you have the power to affect change. — Jacqueline Wiggins, Spring 2016

What are the classes?

The course includes seven evening classes: a class orientation, three introductory classes on planning, land use and zoning, and the real estate development process; and three special topic classes, which change every session. See the course description for current topics.

Final Paper or Presentation

Each participant is also required to complete a final project in order to earn their Certificate of Completion as a Philadelphia Citizen Planner. You will receive information about this at the first class. One way to meet the project requirement is to make a presentation at the optional Workshop session at the end of the course.

Upon completing the orientation, 3 core classes, 2 special topic classes, and a final paper or presentation, you earn a Citizen Planner Certificate of Completion.

Participants are actively engaged in learning from each other, as well as from the instructors. One of the goals of CPI is to provide practical tools individuals can take back to their neighborhood organizations or communities.

This course has been developed for individuals and leaders within neighborhood organizations who are highly motivated to engage in planning issues on equal footing with other stakeholders.

To make the most of your time investment, class sessions will be structured to be relevant to your interests and needs. Real life examples will be included as much as possible with plenty of opportunities for learner interactions through Q&A and group exercises.

When does the course take place?

The eight-week CPI course is offered every spring and fall on Wednesday evenings.

The Spring course is in April and May.

The Fall course is in October and November.


How much does it cost?

The in-person class is a total of $100. Fees cover a buffet dinner and course materials.

  • Core Classes: $50 total for the orientation and 3 core classes (required)
  • Special Topic Classes: $25 per class (minimum 2 required)

Courses fees have been adjusted for online sessions. The virtual course is $25.

Scholarships are available for those with financial need. Participants can also choose to be a program “Champion” by paying for someone’s scholarship.


How do I apply?

Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of the next application period.

We receive many more applications than we have seats (30). To select the participants for each course, we consider how applicants will be able to use the information they receive. We also strive for geographic diversity in each cohort–for that reason, we generally don’t accept more than ONE person from any one community organization.

We receive over 200 applications for each course. If you are not accepted the first-time round, please apply again!