Many pressing challenges facing contemporary cities are felt most acutely at the
community level: poverty, inequality, homelessness, environmental injustices, and police violence, to name a few. Planning at the community scale seeks to address the immediate needs of local people while also empowering citizens to participate in governance and effect change at larger scales. The community planning focus area is designed to help students understand the larger political and economic forces that create structural inequalities, and appreciate the importance of local action for removing them.
Community planners serve as mediators, translators, and strategists who work with multiple stakeholder groups. To do this, they must possess a broad array of skill sets, including community organizing, policy analysis, meeting facilitation, and both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Above all, community planners must be skilled communicators. Course work, independent research, and service learning projects equip students for the many roles they might play as community planners, whether in municipal government, for non-profit organizations, or with local community groups.
Because the need for local organizing transcends geographic boundaries, community planning courses bring together global and U.S-based content, drawing on examples from the local Hawai’i context whenever possible. This geographic breadth prepares students with a broad perspective on community planning practices irrespective of where they may choose to practice.
Possible capstone focuses:
- social impact assessment
- historic preservation
- community participation in planning
Courses in this stream: