City and Regional Planning

Even as a decades-long population decline in Philadelphia has appeared to level off and rebound in the last decade, the city has continued to lose more native-born residents than it takes in. To put it another way, immigrants are central to the city’s rebirth.

From BIG-ONE-Sherwood’s proposal in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge (Watch video)

If Hurricanes Harvey and Irma drove home the threats to coastal cities in the U.S. from climate change—and the role for designers and planners in disaster prevention and mitigation—there was good news this month about efforts to storm-proof the West Coast.

Please welcome Professor Lisa Servon as chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning.

“The first time I came to Penn as a student in 1975, my department chair, Ian McHarg, had become infatuated with cultural anthropology. He saw human ecology as a local extension of plant and animal ecology and thought ethnography employed methods that could be useful for design and planning. As a result, Professor McHarg hired a group of anthropologists.”

Camden, New Jersey, is one of five Delaware River Valley cities that City and Regional Planning students looked at in a spring workshop on equity and sustainability.

Allentown, Reading, and Scranton, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware: All five cities share high rates of poverty, a high concentration of shuttered factories, and a diminished resource base. With the Trump Administration expected to reduce federal support for areas like these, placing a greater burden on local initiatives, the Department of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign took up the challenge of envisioning what those initiatives might be in a workshop for first-year students coordinated by Professor and Chair John Landis; students presented their proposals to their instructors on campus last week.

“Before” (above) and “after” (next slide) transects show the locations where projects are being designed and the intended resiliency impact.

City and Regional Planning students Alex Schieferdecker, Kathryn Kramer and Jarred Toups filed this report on designing new relationships with flood infrastructure in South Florida as part of a Spring 2017 travel studio with Associate Professor Stefan Al.

(Left to right) Kirk McClure, Sandra Newman, Ingrid Ellen, and Alex Schwartz


The past 15 years have been the most turbulent for U.S. housing markets since the Great Depression. Governments at every level—national, state, and especially local—are facing a host of housing affordability, quality, and fair housing challenges.

LA+ is the interdisciplinary journal published by the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Lisa Servon, Professor and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning, was interviewed on the PBS News Hour about the surprising logic behind the use of check cashers and payday loans. Servon shares her experiences working at various check-cashing businesses in researching her new book, The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives.

Nearly 300 Master’s and PhD degrees were presented on Monday afternoon under a sunlit tent on Meyerson Plaza at PennDesign’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony. Capping off a weekend’s worth of festivities that began on Friday with a reception for the Year End Show for design graduates, the ceremony was led by Dean and Paley Professor Fritz Steiner, who shared the podium with Dr. Mindy Fullilove, who gave the Commencement Address; alumnus and Overseer Mark Gardner (MArch’00), who congratulated gradates on behalf of the Board of Overseers; PennDesign Alumni Association President Stuart Mardeusz (MArch’95); and the department and graduate group chairs.

Shiva Kooragayala came to study City and Regional Planning at PennDesign after graduating from Emory University and currently is working as a Research Associate at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

City and Regional Planning students in Assistant Professor Erick Guerra’s recent studio in Queretaro, Mexico contributed to a winning proposal for the UN Habitat’s Globa