Community development as a field embraces both citizen activists and professionals in planned efforts to identify, enhance, and create social and physical assets that increase the capacity of residents to improve their quality of life. Community development focuses on grass roots, community-based initiatives, complimenting the field of Community and Regional Planning, which is often more policy driven and government sponsored.
Students will learn to understand and think critically about the social, political, economic, historic, and cultural dynamics shaping various types of communities. Courses provide important knowledge, values, and skills necessary for community development work. Students will learn how to engage stakeholders; assess a community’s assets, needs and opportunities; plan what the community wants to achieve: and develop strategies, programs, and policies to improve quality of life. Learning will extend beyond the classroom with hands-on experience through service learning, field research, informal gatherings, and workshops.
The Department of Community and Regional Planning offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree. The primary purpose of the program is to develop skilled practitioners for the dynamic and growing field of community and regional planning in government, non-profit, and private sectors. These skills place students in the front lines of efforts to create and maintain sustainable communities.
Planners must understand how cities, towns, and regions are structured and how to create and evaluate plans that maintain and improve the quality of life in those communities.
The M.S. in Community and Regional Planning (CRP) addresses problems affecting large portions of the American population. In particular, the Philadelphia suburbs, including Ambler in Montgomery County, are experiencing the difficulties associated with population increases: the exponential growth of schools without an adequate tax base; the stress on groundwater and other aspects of the natural environment; the loss of open land to tract housing; the construction of shopping malls and the accompanying decline of small central towns; and the emphasis on the automobile at the expense of public transportation.
CRP courses help students to develop skills to address these issues by emphasizing the preparation of the urban/suburban land use plan, including data collection, site analysis and evaluation of location, market, transportation, and environmental factors.
Private, public and non-profit employment opportunities are strong for graduate degree holders based on current need and a projected growth for the next decade.