City and Regional Planning

Vincent Reina
Vincent Reina, an associate professor of city and regional planning at Weitzman and faculty director of the Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP), has been named senior policy advisor for housing and urban policy in the White House Domestic Policy Council. In this role, he’ll work with administration officials and executive branch agencies to address the nation’s housing affordability and supply challenges, affirmatively further fair housing, and advance equitable development and community investment.
Composite of three headshots
Richard Farley, adjunct professor of architecture; Elizabeth Lovett, lecturer in undergraduate architecture; and Akira Drake Rodriguez, assistant professor of city and regional planning, have received G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards for 2021-2022. Named in honor of the architect and longtime faculty member who served as dean of the School from 1951-1971, the awards are given annually based on student nominations to recognize distinguished teaching and innovation in the classroom, seminar, or studio. 
Sarah Lopez
Weitzman welcomes built environment historian and migration scholar Sarah Lopez to the standing faculty in the Department of City and Regional Planning, and she will also teach in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.
Book cover of "Megaregions and America's Future" showing NASA satellite view of US cities at night
Megaregions—a concept pioneered by Robert Yaro, professor of practice emeritus in city and regional planning, in a Penn studio more than a decade ago—can help the United States contend with its mega-challenges. A new book, Megaregions and America’s Future (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2022) by Yaro, Ming Zhang, and Fritz Steiner, reviews the origins of the megaregion concept and the economic, ecological, demographic, and political dynamics to help readers understand trends, processes, and innovative practices within and between megaregions and identify the most pressing challenges that demand strategic decisions and actions. In this excerpt, the authors reflect on what they have learned by becoming urban and regional planners.
Lance Freeman
Lance Freeman has been appointed as the University of Pennsylvania’s 29th Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor. Freeman, one of the world’s leading scholars of urban housing and gentrification, is the James W. Effron University Professor, with joint appointments in the Department of City and Regional Planning in the Weitzman School of Design and the Department of Sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences.
A group of people pose in a line in lush tropical scenery
With storms, floods, heat waves, and cold snaps growing more intense by the season, climate change is no longer just a future concern, but a daily reality. The work of planning resilient spaces and cities, therefore, increasingly requires urgent interventions alongside long-range visions. In the fall of 2021, students in landscape architecture and city and regional planning studios at the Weitzman School grappled with the varied challenges of planning for climate change. Their work took place at multiple spatial scales, across decades, and in diverse communities, from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the nation’s capital. Below is a sample of the work they produced. 
Group of students at pizza parlor

For a spring course on The Carceral State, Weitzman and other Penn students visited Down North PIzza, which employs formerly incarcerated individuals exclusively, and met Muhammad Abdul-Hadi (back row, second from left), one of its founders and owners.

Nearly 100,000 Pennsylvanians are under correctional control, earning the state an incarceration rate above the national average. What this means for Philadelphians is the subject of a spring course taught by Lisa Servon, the Kevin and Erica Penn Presidential Professor and chair of city and regional planning, that brought together students from Weitzman, the School of Social Policy and Practice, and the Wharton School. Offered by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the course included several site visits, including one to Down North Pizza, the acclaimed Philadelphia restaurant that exclusively employs formerly incarcerated individuals.
A man gestures to a drawing with two young people outside a brick building

Photo Huiyi An

A new initiative at Weitzman called Studio+ brings together faculty members and students in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, fine arts, and city planning to elevate and reimagine the role of public-school buildings in collaboration with several West Philadelphia schools. “What we’re trying to do is propose new interventions to the problem of school facilities in Philadelphia,” Assistant Professor of City Planning Akira Drake Rodriguez says.
Partially submerged roller coaster on a sunny day
With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning Allison Lassiter is studying how drinking water supplies in coastal communities are affected as rising seas push saltwater inland.
Illuminated lantern-like bridge in dense low-rise Chinese city neighborhood

Photo Fangfang Tian courtesy Atelier FCJZ

Building in China: A Century of Dialogues on Modern Architecture traces the country’s shifting design practices over a century in which many of its leading practitioners and scholars were educated at Penn. “In this exhibition, we want to highlight alternative thinking and practices in China that reflect greater awareness of local identities and use more sophisticated approaches that take into account the interrelationship between globalization, universal technologies, and local culture and community life,” says Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning Zhongjie Lin, co-organizer.
Artist rendering of nighttime view of US from space showing illuminated cities
In a new book from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Weitzman faculty members argue that megaregions—major agglomerations of cities and towns linked by their shared economies, infrastructure, and environments—are the “predominant urban form in much of the industrialized world.” It's among the latest outputs of Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2), a US Department of Transportation-funded research partnership between Penn, UT, Louisiana State University and Texas Southern University.