There are serious problems that many communities face such as homelessness, poverty, growing inequality, environmental threats, crime and criminalization, to name a few. Planning at the community scale allows for greater participation and problem solving by residents, business owners, workers, and others who care about a neighborhood or place. At the same time, community level planning faces growing challenges in a globalized world where there are many influences that are beyond the local community’s control that affect their well being such as global (dis)investment, regional and state politics, and environmental changes. Planners play multiple roles in enhancing a community’s ability to find solutions to local problems and to shape their future in the face of larger challenges through community planning and policy reform. Planners’ roles include public education, group facilitation, information gathering, community mobilization, social networking, legislative research and advocacy, collaboration across sectors, and organizational capacity building.
Courses in the Community Development and Social Policy cluster equip planners with the knowledge and skills required to develop effective, sensitive, and just planning responses to community problems and to build the capacity of communities to effectively plan and advocate for themselves. Courses cover techniques and approaches to participatory community planning, the history of community development strategies, and often include project based learning approaches with clients in Hawai‘i and the Asia-Pacific region. Some of the specific issues and problems addressed in recent courses include juvenile justice reform, community center planning, homelessness policy, educational programs, sustainable agriculture, disaster preparedness, and culture-based community development projects.
Possible capstone focuses:
- social impact assessment
- historic preservation
- community participation in planning
Courses in this stream: