City and Regional Planning

Harris Sokoloff


Dr. Sokoloff is on the advisory boards for the National Liberty Museum and Education Center, American Society of Educators, and American Theater Arts for Youth, as well as an associate of the Kettering Foundation.

He is the designer of and lead moderator for Citizen Voices, a project of the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board. This distinguished project won the National Batten Award for Civic Journalism. Dr. Sokoloff is the founder/director of the Civic Engagement Institute, a summer institute at Penn GSE, which focuses on teaching the theory and practice of deliberative democracy.

Dr. Sokoloff’s applied research focuses on student civic engagement and community development, particularly the (re)building of a public for public education through the use of deliberative public forums.

Sokoloff, H., Steinberg, H. M., & Pyser, S. N.: Deliberative city planning on the Philadelphia waterfront. The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century. J. Gastil and P. Levine (eds.). Jossey-Bass, Page: 185-196, 2005.

Centers & Progams
As faculty director of the Penn Project on Civic Engagement (PPCE), he designs and implements civic engagement projects in the region. Current projects include the Great Expectations project in partnership with the Editorial Board of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which in the fall of 2007 led to developing a citizen-driven agenda for the mayor and City Council elected that fall. Dr. Sokoloff’s second major project for the PPCE has been as the civic engagement partner with PennPraxis in the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, whose role has been to design and implement the civic engagement process for the project to develop a unified plan for the Delaware River Waterfront from Allegheny to Oregon Avenues. Both projects have a strong student engagement component. In addition, Dr. Sokoloff has worked with more than 80 educational organizations on a range of organizational development and improvement projects, strategic planning, and organizational redesign.

As the Director of the Center for School Study Councils, Dr. Sokoloff’s responsibilities include working with school superintendents, school boards, and district staff to help them keep pace with state-of-the-art educational and management theory, research, and practice. In that role, he develops and conducts more than 50 workshops and seminars on educational leadership issues each academic year for school superintendents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.