Copiah County held a community meeting to discuss what were some of the possible usages for the Millsaps Hotel if renovated.  This discussion was lead by several representatives from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning:  Dr. Joan Wesley, DURP associate professor; Sara Hidouk, M.A., DURP alumna and presenter; Abe Hudson, Jr., DURP Ph.D. student and discussion facilitator; and TIffany Lomax, DURP Ph.D. student and discussion facilitator.

Dr. Daphine Foster, DURP alumna, is the president of the Calling Panther Heritage Foundation which orchestrated this event.  

Select the link below for featured story.
Coates, A. (2016, April 20). Millsaps Hotel-What will it be. Copiah County Courier, pp. 1, 9.

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PAB New Logo 2015

The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) has extended the accreditation period by two years through December 31, 2020 for the Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning.  This is great news to celebrate as the program takes great pride in making their mark on educating and training future planning practioners.

The Master of Arts degree was initiated with the establishment of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the 1998-1999 Academic Year.  Creation of the department resulted from several years of discussion involving the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) for the State of Mississippi, the President and administration at Jackson State University, various scholars and practioners, and consultants to establish a regionally recognized urban and regional planning program that would also be the State's only graduate program in that field.  

PAB accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor's and master's degrees in planning.


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Ashlee, Akili, and Jaynae Startup Weekend Jackson 2016
Great ideas come from DURP planners and the "TinyJXN" concept is nothing short of ground breaking!  Fellow DURP Alumni Ashlee Kelly, M.A.Akili Kelly, M.A.; and Jaynae Young, M.A. joined forces with several others visionaries:  David Kinsey, Brandon Worsham, Sunny Fridge a mentor, and Chris Watkins who provided music for the YouTube video.  

They all participated in Startup Weekend Jackson and pitched Jackson's first "tiny home" develoment.  There were a toal of 23 pitches and this great team was selected along with seven others.  The concept is to create tiny homes in distressed area of Jackson and sell a minimalist lifestyle, and customized, eco-friendly and sustainable design.  Target market of the homes are students, young professionals, first-time homeowners, and empty nesters.

As first place winners, they were awarded six month space at Coalesce, legal planning from Baker Donelson, marketing consultation from ThinkWebstore as well as a Office Depot gift card.

Additionally, they need support from everyone to follow their journey @TinyJXN on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Urban Studies Grads 2016The Urban Studies Program is proud of our most recent graduates.  Janet Lewis, B.A., shown on the left and Chaka Johnson, B.A. on the right.  They received their degrees on Saturday, April 23rd at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.  Their advisor shown in the middle, Dr. Moe Chowdhury, DURP visiting assistant professor, was all smiles as he congratulated his top scholars.  

Our department expects great things from both young ladies as they pursue their career aspirations!

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Ph.D. Graduates Spring 2016

Shown left to right are:  Mae Henry-Blackmon, Ph.D.; Joan Blanton, Ph.D.; Tanaucha Singleton-Lewis, Ph.D.; and Jasmine Williams-Washington, Ph.D.

MA Graduates Spring 2016

Shown left to right are:  Wendy Davenport, M.A.; Danita Summers, M.A.; and Sara Hidouk, M.A.

The Spring Commencement 2016 was truly one for the history book within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  Seven graduates walked across the stage on Friday, April 22, 2016 at the Lee Williams Athletic and Assembly Center on the main campus of Jackson State University.  Never before has the department since its inception seen four PhDs graduate all at the same time within the same semester!  Congratulations to both our M.A. and Ph.D. scholars as they pursue their career aspirations!

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Joan Wesley Faculty Excellence Trophy 2016

Congratulations goes to Dr. Joan M. Wesley, DURP associate professor, on receiving the Jackson State University Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching.  This honor was bestowed to her as part of the of the One JSU Excellence Awards Program established in 2011 by JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers.  There were a told of 12 faculty and staff members who received awards at the JSU Student Center on April 20, 2016.  Winners were nominated by their peers and selected by the Division Vice-Presidents.

Dr. Wesley has been teaching with DURP since 2007 and her concentration is with Community Development and Housing.

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Mae and Tanaucha Successful Defense 2016

(Left to right is Dr. Singleton-Lewis, Dr. Mukesh, Kumar, Interim Chair, and Dr. Blackmon-Henry)

Congratulations is in order for two new Ph.D.s from DURP.  First, is Dr. Tanaucha Singleton-Lewis who successfully defended her dissertaton on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.  The title of her dissertation was, "The Housing Consumption Commute Costs Perspective:  An Investigation of Urban Spatial Patterns in U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas."  Next, is Dr. Mae Blackmon-Henry who also successfully defended her dissertation titled, "Planning for Health:  A Case Study of the Healthy Food Financed Initiative in Spartainburg, SC."

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Interim Chair, served as the Committee Chair for both scholars.

TanauchaLewis'Flyer (2)MaeHenry'sFlyer (2)

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Siddig, Loretta, and Dr. Purry in San Diego 2016

Shown left to right is Siddig Fageir, Ph.D. candidate; Loretta Johnson, DURP alumna; and Dr. Valerie Purry, DURP alumna

Four persons represented the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) in San Diego March 16-19, 2016.  Siddig Fageir, a doctoral candidate, presented a paper titled, "Race, Residency, and Employment:  GIS and Statistical Analysis of Metropolitan Mississippi Labor Markets."  Dr. Valerie Purry, DURP alumna, presented her current research, "The Caribbean's Urban Issue of Overcrowding-Shantytowns."

Dr. Joan Wesley participated in a special colloquy organized by UAA's Vice Chair, "Getting Tenure/Promotion-Teaching/Service."  Ms. Loretta Johnson, M.A. and 2015 DURP alumna, received a UAA Volunteer scholarship to assist with registration, logistics, and other conference activities.  This is the second year in a row that Loretta has received this volunteer scholarship.

The Urban Affairs Association is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service professionals.  The UAA Conference is held annually in a major U.S. city.  The 47th Annual Conference will be held in Minneapolis, MN from April 19-22, 2017.


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Daffney Moore, M.A., has been appointed as the new City Administrator for the city of Dellwood, Mo.  She brings to the position more than 17 years of experience in the public sector.  With a vote of 7-0, Dellwood's Board of Aldermen unamiously confirmed Daffney's appointment on March 14, 2016.

Ms. Moore continues to represent the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in career advancement.  Prior to assuming the City Administrator position, she served as Economic Development Director for the City of Berkeley, MO, which followed her tenure as an Urban Planner with the Urban Design Agency for the City of St. Louis.

Committed to progressive planning ideas, Daffney works in the areas of urban growth, revitalization, housing and commercial development.  She is particularly dedicated to initiatives that address social and economic issues in minority communities.  She was instrumental in bringing two major mixed-use, mixed-income development projects to realization in St. Louis: Arlington Grove and North Sarah.  Daffney is engaged in ongoing work with the City of St. Louis on the Promise Zone implementation, Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities, Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard redevelopment, the Landsdowne Initiative and the Our Town grant in East St. Louis.  

Ms. Moore continously strives to "open doors" for disenfranchised and underrepresented communities through volunteerism and advocacy.  She recently spoke on the Washington University Panelist, Focus:  Ferguson & St. Louis Region, which addressed the complex economic, political and racial landscape of North St. Louis City and County.  She is the recipient of the 2015 American Planning Association Dwight F. Davis Award Outstanding Planning Advocate for her tireless work to promote the cause of planning in the public arena.

She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Murray State University in Organizational Communications.  She is a native of East St. Louis, IL.


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Urban & Regional Planning, Old Capitol Museum, faculty, staff, graduate students, headshotsSara's Thesis Defense Invitation (2)

Sara Hidouk, Master of Arts student, sucessfuly defended her thesis on Wednesday, March 23rd.  She has a strong passion for being an architect and studying  urban conditions and analyzing the urban design, strategies and practices.  She believes the Jackson State University's Urban and Regional Planning program will enable her as an architect and future urban planner to acquire knowledge and skills that will help her meet new professional challenges and deal with the complex issues of the urban condition in her country.

Sara is well on her way to showing the world what talent and preparation can do in the world of planning.  She will graduate spring 2016 with a M.A.Degree in Urban and Regional Planning.  DURP is very proud of her accomplishments.


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