Congratulations to Dr. Edmund Merem as he was recently appointed as a member of the SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship selection.  The appointment is a three-year term from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.  The purpose of the Vanier CGS program is to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and put Canada in the forefront  in research and higher learning.  Membership selection for this committee is based on the prestige and noted academic research of a candidate.

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DURP Receives Award at 2017 AL/MS APA Conference

October 12th, 2017 by jsudurp

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning received the President’s Award at the American Planning Association Mississippi Awards Luncheon sponsored by the 2017 Alabama/Mississippi APA Annual Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.  This year the award went to three State University as they have educated, mentored, and graduated planners who work to improve communities at every scale throughout the state.  DURP shared the award with the University of Southern Mississippi and The University of Mississippi.

Dr. Joan Marshall Wesley, DURP associate professor, serves as the Committee Chair for the APA Central Region.  Biqi Zhao, AICP and DURP PhD student serves on the APA Central Region Committee.

Three of DURP’s alumni were recognized as new members of the American Institute of Certified Planners organization.   Those honorees were Ramina Aghili, Arash Ghahramani, and Catherine Lee.   AICP is the professional institute to APA which verifies planners qualifications.  They pledge to uphold elevated standards of practice, ethics, and professional conduct.

Arash Ghahramani, AICP, MA and Ramini Aghili, AICP, MA


Catherine Lee, AICP, MA


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Not an empty seat was available as the Jackson City Council issued a proclamation on Tuesday, October 10th to recognize the month of October as “Community Planning Month.”  Dean Ricardo A. Brown, PhD, of the College of Public Service and interim Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning was present for this ceremonial occasion and accepted the proclamation on behalf of DURP.  Additionally, current DURP students, alumni, and the City of Jackson’s Planning Department were all witnesses to hear Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba offer words of praise regarding the work of Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Planning Director for the City of Jackson along with the city’s Planning Department.

Jackson State University is the only “accredited ” planning program in the State of Mississippi which is an honor for the department and the JSU community.  Graduates of the program go on to pursue planning careers in city, county, and federal government as well as various entities of the private sector.

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National Community Planning Month is Here!

All month long we are celebrating the lasting value that thoughtful and innovative planning has for the Jackson metropolitan area.  Get to know the planners in your community; learn about the local planning initiatives underway; and maybe even attend your first planning-related meeting.

This year’s theme is “Innovation in Planning,” underscoring the role of planning in addressing and adapting to the challenges facing communities in the 21st century.

These are the activities we have scheduled for October:

Tuesday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m., the City of Jackson will present a proclamation declaring October as National Community Planning Month in Jackson.

Brown Bag Discussion Panel will feature three professional planners highlighting the theme of “Innovation in Planning” on Tuesday, October 17th from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Panelist include:
Alfred Martin, PhD, President/CEO Environmental Management Plus, Inc.
Gray Ouzts, AICP, Community and Economic Development Planner, Central MS Planning and Development District (CMPDD)
David Wade, AICP, Principal Planner, Central MS Planning and Development District (CMPDD)
*RSVP your attendance by contacting Lisa Johnson, Student Development Coordinator at (601) 979-8725 or
The Brown Bag location is the 101 W. Capitol Street Building, Jackson State University (Downtown Campus)
The Brown Bag event is open to the public!

Alumni Mixer and Night Out
All current DURP students and alumni are invited to come share professional experiences and fellowship.  Location is TBD and the date is either October 26th or 27th.  More information is forthcoming!



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We are proud to announce that DURP Alumna, Catherine Lee, MA is now AICP certified.  Catherine has served as an Outcome Broker for the Green and Health Holmes Initiative (GHHI) in Jackson since October of 2014.  She has worked with organizations, agencies, and community leaders to ensure affordable housing is healthy, safe, and energy efficient.  Lee has previously served as Director of Housing and Community Development for Midtown Partners, Inc. and Special Projects Officer for former Jackson Mayor, Harvey Johnson, Jr.  Ms. Lee received her Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University and her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Tampa.  She has served on the Board of Directors for Bike Walk Mississippi and Parents for Public Schools Jackson, and she is a graduate of the 2014-2015 Class of the Leadership Greater Jackson. 

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The College of Public Service held its' annual Student Recognition Program on Thursday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. held at the 101 W. Capitol Street (downtown campus) of Jackson State University.  Purpose of the event was to honor respective graduates of CPS' three academic programs:  Department of Public Policy and Administration, School of Social Work, and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  Brian McCoy, M.A.'17 and Brandon Rankin December '16 were both recognized in various categories by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  Brian was honored for having the "Highest GPA for the DURP Master of Arts Graduate" and for his "Commitment to Community Service." Brandon received accolades for his dedicated involvement with the "Student Planning Association" DURP's student organization and noted as the "Student Most Exemplifying DURP."

We are proud of both young men as they progress to the next chapter professionally in the field of planning! 

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Congratulations are in order for five DURP students selected to participate in the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice Conference (DSCEJ).  The students chosen are:  Reggie Davis, MA student; Tiffany Lomax, PhD student; India Tate, MA student; Daniel Walker, PhD student; and Sabrina White, PhD student.  Additionally, Le Bu a PhD student with the Department of Engineering at Jackson State University will also present a research topic.  These students are enrolled in Dr. Yaw Twumasi, DURP visiting assistant professor's Geographical Information Systems course.

nola skyline

5th Anniversary HBCU Climate Change Conference 



March 15 – 19, 2017

New Orleans, Louisiana


Dillard University's Deep South Center for Environmental Justice along with Texas Southern University collectively will host the 5th Anniversary HBCU Climate Change Conference.  The overall objective of the event is to bring together HBCU faculty and students, researchers, climate professionals and environmental justice and costal community residents impacted by toxic facilities and severe weather events related to climate change in order to bridge the gap between theory and the experiential realities of climate change.  The conference will address issues ranging from climate justice to other major climate change topics.

Retrieved from


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(Pictured from left to right are):  Marshand Crisler, DURP PhD student and Chief Executive Operator for the City of Jackson; Eric Jefferson, MA, AICP and Planning and Development Director with the City of Jackson;
Dr. Evandro Santos, DURP Associate Professor; and Dean Ricardo A. Brown, College of Public Service and DURP Interim Chair 

October is designated as "National Planning Month" by the American Planning Association.  The Jackson City Council on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, issued a proclamation declaring October as "Planning Month" throughout the City of Jackson.  Theme for this years' planning month is "Civic Engagement" which hopes to highlight the necessity of engaging the local government and community leaders in discussions that shape the future of our cities.  

Many students and alumni from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning pursue successful careers with the City of Jackson and other cities across the country. They go on to make key contributions to improving their cities' growth and development.

Representatives shown in the photos know and understand the importance of urban planning to any city and were honored to serve as honorary recipients for this occasion. Planning and Development Director for the City of Jackson, Eric Jefferson said, "He was grateful to Mayor Yarber for again proclaiming October as Community Planning Month in Jackson, and for allowing the Planning and Development Department to publicly recognize the wonderful faculty and students with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University.  He also wanted to publicly recognize and thank the members of the Jackson Planning Board and Jackson Historic Preservation Commission who have diligently contributed to their time and expertise for the improvement of Jackson".

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“Cinema and the City” on Fridays @ 3:00 p.m.

October 14th, 2016 by jsudurp

You are cordially invited to attend a movie series called "Cinema and the City" sponsored by
Dr. Evandro Santos, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

The next movie will be Friday, November 4, 2016 @3:00 p.m. followed by a planning discussion. For additionl information about the movies chosen, please see the following link: 

The movies are free and the public is welcome to attend!  Light refreshments will be served as well.  Please join us at 101 W. Capitol Street (downtown JSU campus).

Listed below are the moderators, discussion topics and movie titles:

Guest Moderator-John Gomez, Associate Director, Downtown Jackson Partners
October 7th-TOPIC-Utopia:  Gardens, Concrete and Flying Machines (Empire City, Decadence Ave. Elegance)
Featured Film:  "Metropolis"-Fritz Lang (1927)

Guest Moderator-Melody Moody Thortis, Executive Director of Bike Walk Mississippi
October 14th-TOPIC-Urban Sprawl & Suburbia:  On the Trap of Freedom (Urban Escapees and Asphalt, Suburbia & Miopia, Technoburbia, Megametros & Cement Rugs)
Featured Film:  "The Truman Show"-Peter Weir (1998)

Guest Moderator-Charles Weeks, Instructor at Mississippi College
October 21st-TOPIC-The Experience of Place:  Identity, Ownership & Self (Everyday Life, The Monumental, Iconic & Symbolic City History & Heritage,"Genius Loci" & Sense of Place, Social Encounters)
Featured Film:  "Playtime"-Jacques Tati (1967)

Guest Moderator-Eric Jefferson, M.A., Director of Planning and Development, City of Jackson
October 28th-TOPIC-Boundaries, Transitions & Transgressions:  The Geography of Exclusion (Disparities & Segregation, Border & Limits, Race, Crime & Urban Violence)
Featured Film:  "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth"-Chad Freidrichs (2011)

Guest Moderator-TBD
November 4th-TOPIC-The Beauty, The Soft & The Ugly (Courage & Resilience, Water, Rivers & Tears, Concrete, Glass & Sweat)
Featured Film:  "Amelie"-Jean Pierre Jeunet (2001)

Guest Moderator-Roy Decker, Principal Architect, Duval Decker
November 11th-TOPIC-Texture & Complexity, The Collage of Urban Engagement (Industry, Rails & Change, Inequalities & Globalization, Automobile as King, Pedalling Your Way)
Featured Film:  "Urbanized"-Gary Hustwit (2000)

Guest Moderator-Dr. Brian Pugh, Deputy Executive Director, Department of Finance and Administration for Mississippi
November 18th-TOPIC-Terrain Vague (Dystopias & Forgotten Walls, Helmets & Rubble, Bridges to Nowhere)
Featured Film: "Blade Runners"-Ridley Scott (1982)




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The Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Department of Planning and Development are hosting a Brown Bag Lunch and Panel Discussion on Monday, October 31, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This event will culminate several planning activities held during this month commemorating October as "National Planning Month" as designated by the American Planning Association.  Theme of this event is "Planning and Civic Engagement-How Projects Get Done."

Featured speakers are:  Eric A. Jefferson, Planning and Development Director with the City of Jackson; Jonathan Kiser, Tranportation/Traffic Manager of Neel-Schaffer, Inc.; Virgi Lindsay, Executive Director of the Greater Belhaven Foundation; Roy T. Decker, Principal with Duvall Decker Architects; Primus Wheeler, Jr., Executive Director of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation; and Jay C. Estes, Chief Operation Officer with Allen Engineering and Science

We welcome the public to attend!  Location of this event is the Jackson State University (Downtown Campus) 101 W. Capitol Street, Room 107, Jackson, MS  39201.  For more information and RSVP, contact Lisa Johnson at (601) 979-8725 or by email at

Sponsors include:  Allen Engineering & Science and Neel-Schaffer, Inc.



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