Every neighborhood has residents who want to become more involved but aren’t sure how. Citizens Planning Institute helps them take that next step.

Citizens Planning Institute (CPI) introduces Philadelphians who “love where they live” to the activities of city planning, zoning and development. CPI is the educational arm of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. The course helps Philadelphians shape the future of their neighborhoods through a greater understanding of city planning and the steps involved in development projects.

There are over 700 alumni of the program. Alumni have gone on to…

  • Form civic associations, non-profits, “friends of” groups, RCOs, zoning committees and meet-up groups.
  • Preserve greenspace.
  • Draft strategic plans.
  • Form neighborhood conservation overlays.
  • Testify at City Hall.
  • Conduct neighborhood surveys.
  • Organize clean-ups.
  • Obtain grants.
  • Become members of Boards.

The application period is now open. This eight-week course takes place on Wednesday evenings between September 27 and November 15 in Center City. There are 30 spots available. The course fee is on a sliding scale (up to $300) and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. CPI is accepting applications until 11:59pm on Sunday, September 10, online or by mailed application. To complete an application by mail, call 215-683-4658.

“CPI is for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community,” said Donna Carney, program director. “It gives people the tools, resources, and connections to get things done in their neighborhood.”

Participants learn from leaders in the fields of planning, development, and community organizing. They also connect with the growing network of Citizen Planners across the city who work on many of the same issues.

The online application form for the Fall 2023 Citizens Planning Institute. Accepting applications until 11:59 PM on September 10.