Dr. Joan M. Wesley, associate professor, is now serving in the role of chair for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  Dr. Wesley brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in community development and housing as well as serving as a member of the Executive Committee for the Mississippi American Planning Association.  We congratulate Dr. Wesley, on this noteworthy accomplishment.

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The Department of Urban and Regional Planning along with the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association cordially invite each of you to attend a Panel Discussion.  The topic of the discussion will focus on "Building Resilience and Sustainability in Communities."  This event will take place on Friday, June 29, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and it is open to the public!

Please, come join the discussion at the Jackson State University Downtown Campus located at 101 West Capitol Street.  Admission is free!  Please RSVP your attendance on the link provided on the attachment.  For event details or to request special accommodations, contact Dr. Joan M. Wesley at (601) 209-6738 or by email at  Be sure to include the word "Panel" in the subject line.  

Select link to RSVP:  2018 Panel Discussion 6.29.2018 (3)

*Parking is located directly across the street inside of the gate on the South side of the building.  

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Alumnae of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning served as panelists at the Jackson State University Notable Alumni Panel Session.  The event was held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the JSU Student Center Theater room on the main campus.  Dr. Joan Blanton, AICP, and Zylavian Watley, MA, provided valuable advise to the audience regarding their experience as a JSU student and professional advice on how to be successful in the planning field.

Dr. Blanton currently serves as a planning consultant and visiting assistant professor in DURP.  Ms. Watley works as a transportation planner and bicycle pedestrian coordinator under the office of Planning and Development with the Shelby County Government in Memphis, Tennessee.  Our department is truly proud of these trailblazers making an impact in urban planning.


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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.

Dr. Merem teaches courses in the planning concentration of Environment and Land Use.  He is a tenured professors with 15 years of teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels and eight years as a research and teaching assistant.  Additionally, he has contributed two books to Canadian research, Environmental accounting for changes in farmland use: A Canadian case study, and Environmental accounting for oil and natural gas a North American case study of Canada and North East United States.  He received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Environmental Science from York University and his Master of Arts from Pontifical Lateran University, Vatican City.  His PhD in Urban and Regional Planning was obtained from Jackson State University.  For additional information, go to


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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.

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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.

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