City and Regional Planning

Initiative in the History of the Built Environment

Overview

In 2021, the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design launched the Initiative in the History of the Built Environment (HBE). The initiative organizes and amplifies existing teaching and expertise in the history of the built environment at Penn; promotes new scholarship in this interdisciplinary area; and supports doctoral students committed to studying history in the fields of city planning, historic preservation, and design. Through this initiative, Penn seeks to become the premier place to study urban, planning, landscape, and architectural history within its social, political, and cultural contexts.

Starting with the 2022-23 admissions cycle, we are excited to invite applications from prospective doctoral students to serve as Fellows in the History of the Built Environment! See below for further information regarding associated admissions and program requirements.

Affiliated Faculty

Francesca Russello Ammon (Director), City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation
Anne Berg, History
Eugenie Birch, City & Regional Planning
Brent Cebul, History
Jared Farmer, History
Emma Hart, History
Zhongjie Lin, City & Regional Planning
Sarah Lopez, City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation
Randall Mason, City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation
Akira Drake Rodriguez, City & Regional Planning
Domenic Vitiello, City & Regional Planning
Amber Wiley, Historic Preservation (starting in 2023)
Aaron Wunsch, Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture

Fellows in the History of the Built Environment

Beginning with the 2022-23 admissions cycle, the Graduate Group in City & Regional Planning enthusiastically welcomes applications from those wishing to complete a PhD in City & Regional Planning with a focus on the history of the built environment. These Fellows in the History of the Built Environment will complete their coursework through targeted offerings in the Departments of City & Regional Planning and History, as well as a broad array of options across the Weitzman School and larger university. Specific course requirements include the regular doctoral colloquium sequence in City & Regional Planning, readings and research seminars in the History of the Built Environment, and courses in the methods and practice of history. These Fellows will receive five years of doctoral fellowship funding.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants should follow the standard doctoral admissions process, but be sure to elaborate upon their particular interest in the urban or metropolitan history of the built environment in their research statement. In addition, the submitted writing sample should showcase historical research, ideally based upon primary sources.

To learn more about the doctoral program in City & Regional Planning at Penn, please see our website. For any questions, or to discuss this opportunity further, feel free to reach out to Eugenie Birch, Graduate Group Chair, or Francesca Russello Ammon, director of the Initiative in the History of the Built Environment.

Program Requirements

Doctoral students in City & Regional Planning typically complete 20 course units, taken at a rate of four course units per semester. For Fellows in the History of the Built Environment, this coursework includes:

  • four course units of CPLN 8000: Doctoral Seminar;
  • two course units of HIST 7000: Proseminar in History: The Study of History;
  • two new City & Regional Planning course units tailored to the HBE program:
    CPLN 8XXX: Readings in Urban and Planning History and
    CPLN 8XXX: Research Seminar in the History of the Built Environment;
  • one or more additional course units in research methods;
  • three or more elective course units, drawing upon topical readings seminars and research seminars based in City & Regional Planning, History, and other related departments and programs throughout the school and university; and
  • independent studies.

In addition, all students will complete all other research fellow, teaching fellow, jury service, examination, and dissertation requirements consistent with the City & Regional Planning doctoral program, as outlined in the Doctoral Student Handbook.

Recent News

9/13/2022: Amber Wiley to Join Weitzman Faculty and Lead Civil Rights Initiative
4/6/2022: Historian and Migration Scholar Sarah Lopez to Join Weitzman Faculty
10/20/2021:  New Interdisciplinary Initiative in the History of the Built Environment Looks Beyond Conventional Power Brokers