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In 2013, Baltimore's Department of Planning and Citizens' Planning and Housing Association (CPHA) hosted a three-day capacity building workshop series: the East Baltimore Leadership Academy. Over 150 East Baltimore residents attended this workshop, which was designed to provide community residents with the knowledge and tools they needed to strengthen their communities. The event series was met with enthusiasm from participants, and the success of this workshop series laid the foundation for the Planning Academy we launched in Fall 2018. 

Since then, 240 Baltimore residents from across 100+ neighborhoods have participated and the alumni network continues to grow.


The Baltimore Planning Academy aims to build community leadership around urban planning, zoning and development issues through a Baltimore lens.

Goals for the Planning Academy:

  • Build community across neighborhoods in Baltimore City through engagement around urban planning.

  • Connect advocates and leaders to City resources, tools and information around zoning and development.

  • Empower residents to shape the future of their neighborhoods and of Baltimore.

While there are many excellent resources that can aid community groups in strengthening capacity and effectiveness, there has not been an urban planning and development focused training opportunity - until now! The Baltimore Planning Academy focuses on building community leadership around urban planning, policy and development issues - specifically through a Baltimore-lens.

We want you to realize your community's vision for Baltimore - please join us!


Over six weeks, Academy participants will participate in a series of workshops covering the principles of zoning, development review and neighborhood planning in Baltimore. Each session will cover a different aspect of urban planning and development, and will include interactive group activities and panel discussions. We strive to provide one neighborhood tour of a development site during each six-week session. The course will be kept small (up to 30 participants) to encourage interaction and learning among participants, facilitators, and instructors.

Our intention is to bring together a diverse group of community residents with an interest in urban planning and development. We encourage anyone with an interest improving their neighborhood, community, and Baltimore City to apply. We strongly encourage applicants from communities impacted by historic patterns of disinvestment to apply.​

Instructors will be a mix of experts from City government, the non-profit sector and the development sector in Baltimore.

Each session will be facilitated by staff from the Department of Planning. 


The Baltimore Planning Academy is a project of the City of Baltimore's Department of Planning. The Department of Planning is the City agency entrusted with guiding the physical development of the City of Baltimore. The Department staffs three Mayoral-appointed City commissions:

■ Planning Commission

■ Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation (CHAP)

■ Sustainability Commission

You can visit our website for more information about our work.


The City of Baltimore’s Department of Planning staff created and convenes an Equity in Planning Committee (EIPC). Launched in March of 2015, EIPC is driven by a desire to actively work towards dismantling and remedying the legacy of racial inequity that persists in Baltimore. Developing the Planning Academy was a recommendation of the EIPC's Action Plan in 2016.

  • Improve and increase the dialogue and connections between the Department of Planning and underserved communities in Baltimore.

  • Ensure that the Planning Department staff reflect the demographics of Baltimore City.

  • Use an equity lens to develop, revise, and evaluate City policies.

  • Use an equity lens to prioritize capital investments.

  • Evaluate the Planning Department’s internal practices and policies.

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