City and Regional Planning

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. 
Rendering and section for a sloped building with palm trees under an atrium
Led by Weitzman's Dorit Aviv and Akira Drake Rodriguez, planners and architects are working to address one of the many challenges faced by public schools by designing healthy and engaging outdoor educational spaces.
A lantern-like bridge in concrete and wood spans a small river in a dense urban setting

Photo: Fangfang Tian

The Weitzman School of Design, in association with Southeast University and Tongji University, will present a two-part exhibition tracing China’s shifting design practices over a century in which many of its leading practitioners and scholars were educated at Penn. Co-curated by Zhongjie Lin, associate professor of city and regional planning, the exhibition investigates significant moments in the continuing architectural dialogue between China and the West, between different generations of architects, and among contemporary designers in China.
 A low-slung light brick building with steps and terrace in the foreground at dusk

Photo: Iwan Baan courtesy MASS Design Group

On November 18, MASS Design Group, the nonprofit firm based in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, that got its start building hospitals, will receive the 2021 Kanter Tritsch Medal in Architecture, and the City of Minneapolis will receive the 2021 Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal in City and Regional Planning for Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to guide the city’s growth. The recipient of the $50,000 Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation is Beikel José Rivas and the recipient of the $50,000 Witte-Sakamoto Family Prize in City and Regional Planning is Xuezhu Zhao.
Abstract, irregular pattern of black and grey bands and dots

Image: Dana Tomlin

Ahead of a virtual event celebration his impact on generations of students, Tomlin speaks about the evolution of mapping technology and its growing importance in daily life, using geospatial data to guide decision making, his split interests in the art and science of map making, and teaching at Harvard, Yale, Penn, and the Ohio State University.
An African American man and young girl seated in front of a black and gold mural

Miller describes himself as a photographer, storyteller, and geographer, and since 2018 he has published work on Instagram at @BlackUrbanism to preserve “the complexity in Black lives by visualizing the Where, When, and Why.”

This spring, Matt Miller, a post-doctoral fellow who teaches in the Department of City and Regional Planning and is better known as “Dr. Matt,” was appointed to the newly-created role of director of Justice and Belonging (JxB). His appointment, which began July 1, creates a focal point for work undertaken at all levels of the School to make Weitzman more welcoming, socially accountable, and intellectually transformative for current and former students, faculty and staff members. In the second part of a three-part interview, Miller talks about how to approach anti-racist work on an individual level, the role for consensus building and design thinking in this work, and the need to move the conversation beyond diversity, equity and inclusion.
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.
A woman in a dark suit and a woman in a green sweater stand outdoors next to a sign for "Clark Pakr"

Photo Lou Caltabiano

OurPlan, a new web-based tool for neighborhood planning developed by Weitzman faculty and a recent alum, combines both education and data collection to help residents participate in important planning and zoning decisions that affect their neighborhoods. Currently, the tool focuses on Spruce Hill, a West Philly neighborhood adjacent to Penn’s campus that has seen sharp increases in home prices and other indicators of gentrification over the last few decades. 
Two women walking down a sidewalk talking with a class of students following
The Department of City and Regional Planning at the Weitzman School recently announced that it is launching an Initiative in the History of the Built Environment to organize and amplify existing work at Penn, promote new scholarship, and support doctoral students committed to studying history in the fields of city planning, preservation, and design.
Christopher Carlos Brzovic and Julian Turley
Christopher Carlos Brzovic and Julian Turley have been selected for the Moelis Scholars Program in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the Weitzman School.
Matt Miller
This spring, Matt Miller, a post-doctoral fellow who teaches in the Department of City and Regional Planning and is better known as Dr. Matt, was appointed to the newly-created role of director of Justice and Belonging (JxB). His appointment, which began July 1, creates a focal point for work undertaken at all levels of the School to make Weitzman more welcoming, socially accountable, and intellectually transformative for current and former students, faculty and staff members. In the first part of a three-part interview, Miller talks about growing up in the Bay Area, his path to planning and to Penn, and his vision for a more inclusive student experience.

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