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. 


ENGAGING Communities around their development concerns and challenges.

CONNECTING Communities to urban planning resources.

EMPOWERING Community leaders through information, networking and best practices.

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 six core workshops. Each session will cover a different aspect of urban planning and development in Baltimore, and will include interactive group activities and panel discussions. 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. Topics will focus primarily on the development and urban planning process specific to Baltimore City, including zoning, urban design, and neighborhood planning.

Baltimore Community Planning Academy graduates will gain:

  • A valuable peer network for support, ideas and resources after graduation

  • understanding of core urban planning and land use concepts,

  • strategies for using the zoning code to address community challenges,

  • introductions to resources in our region, and

  • access to an alumni network of community members that can serve as collaborators, thought partners and a support system in the years to come.


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.

Baltimore's Planning Academy is a project of Baltimore's Department of Planning. It is a free six-week course focusing on the planning and development process in Baltimore.


The Academy aims to empower community residents to shape the future of their neighborhoods and of Baltimore by building an understanding of local urban planning and design processes.


© 2018 by Baltimore City Department of Planning
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What is Baltimore's Planning Academy?