City and Regional Planning

Cover of the book
Philadelphia has been an important center of sanctuary and reflects the growing diversity of American cities in recent decades. In his new book, The Sanctuary City: Immigrant, Refugee, and Receiving Communities in Postindustrial Philadelphia (Cornell University Press, 2022), Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning Domenic Vitiello argues that sanctuary means much more than the limited protections offered by city governments or churches sheltering immigrants from deportation. In an excerpt from the book’s introduction, Vitiello suggests what is at stake for the immigrants and refugees who have come to Philadelphia in recent years.
Philadelphia skyline against violet sky at dusk
In July, the City of Philadelphia joined a handful of US cities in appointing a “night mayor” with the selection of Raheem Manning to serve as director of the nighttime economy and business development. The appointment grew out of a sustained effort by Michael Fichman, a research associate at PennPraxis who teaches in the Master of Urban Spatial Analytics Program, to champion 24-hour cities internationally.
Rocky shoreline with scrub and icy valley seen from the water

Photo: Frederick Steiner

Visiting the Alaskan coast by boat after a hiatus of more than 40 years, Dean Steiner reflects on changes in the landscape and the lessons to be learned in terms of biodiversity and cultural heritage.
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.
Cover of Managing the Climate Crisis
In a new book from Island Press, Managing the Climate Crisis, Jonathan Barnett, professor of practice emeritus of city and regional planning, and Matthijs Bouw, professor of practice in landscape architecture and McHarg Center Fellow for Risk and Resilience, share their approach to addressing the inevitable and growing threats from the climate crisis using constructed and nature-based design and engineering and ordinary government programs.
Elizabeth Delmelle and Daniela Fabricius
The Weitzman School welcomes geographer and geographic information scientist Elizabeth Delmelle and architectural historian and theorist Daniela Fabricius to the standing faculty. Delmelle is an associate professor of city and regional planning and the director of the Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) program; Fabricius is an assistant professor of architecture whose work takes an interdisciplinary approach to the political, intellectual, and aesthetic histories of 20th-century architecture and urbanism.
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.