Domenic Vitiello

Assistant Professor
City & Regional Planning

Office: Meyerson Hall, G18


B.A., Wesleyan University
M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Domenic Vitiello teaches courses on community development, food systems, immigration, and urban and planning history. He also teaches for Penn's Urban Studies Program ( and is a senior fellow of Penn's Center for Public Health Initiatives (

Trained as a planner and historian, Domenic's research focuses on community and economic development institutions, migration, and urban agriculture. His historical scholarship includes books on the economic development and decline of Philadelphia. He has published articles in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Planning History, Journal of Urban History, Planning Perspectives, and Progressive Planning, as well as book chapters on community development and planning history.

As a practitioner, Domenic has worked with public, private, and third sector organizations in community development and food system planning. He has served as founding president of the Philadelphia Orchard Project ( ); board chair of JUNTOS/Casa de los Soles ( ) and on the boards of the African Cultural Alliance of North America ( ) and the Society for American City and Regional Planning History ( ).

Through Domenic's courses, MCP students have planned refugee housing systems, urban farming enterprises, and transnational development projects; helped the City of Philadelphia develop food policy; and produced research and reports for a wide variety of community development organizations. He has received the Michael B. Katz Award for Excellence in Teaching in Urban Studies and the G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Design.


Domenic's current research examines community development in immigrant communities and the contributions of urban agriculture to community food security. He is authoring a book comparing community development in the Puerto Rican, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Korean, African, Arab, and Mexican communities of Philadelphia. He helps lead the Philadelphia Migration Project, a research initiative with colleagues in Penn's Schools of Arts and Sciences, Social Policy, and Education, supported by the Penn Institute for Urban Research ( ).

During the summer, Domenic has been working with colleagues and students to quantify the production and trace the distribution of food from community gardens and farms in Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton NJ, and Chicago. He is leading two national studies, one on the ways in which food banks connect to urban and regional agriculture, and the other on urban agriculture among immigrants. This work, much of it supported by the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives and U.S. Department of Agriculture, aims to understand the economic and health impacts of formal and informal urban agriculture.

Please visit:  for Domenic's research reports as well as student projects and plans for urban agriculture and community food systems.


Selected Publications:

Domenic Vitiello, Engineering Philadelphia: The Sellers Family and the Industrial Metropolis (Cornell University Press, 2013).

Domenic Vitiello, "The Politics of Immigration and Suburban Revitalization: Divergent Responses in Adjacent Pennsylvania Towns," Journal of Urban Affairs (2013).

Domenic Vitiello, "Planning the Food Secure City: Philadelphia Agriculture Retrospect and Prospect," in Nature's Entrepot: Philadelphia's Urban Sphere and its Environmental Thresholds, Brian Black and Michael Chiarappa, eds. (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012).

Thomas Carter and Domenic Vitiello, "Immigrants, Refugees and Housing" in Immigrant Geographies of North American Cities, Carlos Teixeira, Wei Li and Audrey Kobayashi, eds. (NY: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Mark Stern, Susan Seifert, and Domenic Vitiello, "Migrants and the Transformation of Philadelphia's Cultural Economy," in Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the U.S., Paul DiMaggio and Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, eds. (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2010).

Domenic Vitiello, "The Migrant Metropolis and American Planning," Journal of the American Planning Association Centennial Issue (March 2009).

Domenic Vitiello and Michael Nairn, "Everyday Urban Agriculture: From Community Gardening to Community Food Security," Harvard Design Magazine (Fall/Winter 2009).


Professor Vitiello teaches the Community and Economic Development Practicum, Metropolitan Food Systems, and The Immigrant City.