Baltimore Planning Academy

Planning Academy

Each year, we host two Planning Academy workshop series for Baltimore City residents in the fall and spring. Each cohort meets for six weeks on Wednesday evenings (most recently, primarily virtually). 

Applications are currently closed, but open every January. 

Planning Academy

Our Vision:

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.

Testimonials from Past Participants

(Our Alumni are posing with Planning Department Assistant Director, Stephanie!)

Testimonial 1   Testimonial 2


Each cohort covers the basic principles of zoning; the development review process; and urban planning. Our instructors are a mix of Planning professionals from the Department of Planning and external guest speakers. During each six-week session, we strive to offer at least one off-site tour of a development project or site in the City of Baltimore.

After completing the Planning Academy, our team wants participants to walk away with knowledge including:

  • An understanding of zoning principles (eg: "By-Right" development, conditional uses, variances) and how to navigate the zoning code
  • How to assess if a neighborhood plan is the right next step for their community
  • How to effectively participate in a BMZA or Planning Commission hearing, and the differences in function between these two bodies

View the sample curriculum from Fall 2020 to gain insight into what you can expect as a participant!

What Brought Us Here Today?  What Do We Want to Learn? The following word maps are based on the responses of participants during the introduction of the Spring 2019 Planning Academy.

What We Want to LearnWhat Brought Us Here

Presentations from Prior Years:

Racism in the Structure

Lexington Market Listening Tour

Zoning Introduction


Development Process in Baltimore

Zoning - Part I

Overview and Welcome

History of Inequity

Comprehensive Planning and Neighborhood Planning

Community Catalyst Grant Overview

Zoning Overview

CIP Presentation

BBMR Presentation: Operating Budget Process

Community Land Trusts

Community Associations Best Practices

TIF Presentation