URBN 350 Community Development & Action


This class is designed to give students an active role in impacting Memphis neighborhoods through the lenses of equity and justice. We will begin with a historical overview of neighborhood change across America, analyzing the key policies and local decisions that led Memphis’ neighborhoods to look the way they do today. Students will then learn the contemporary challenges facing urban neighborhoods using a specific community project or initiative as a case study. Students will gather available neighborhood data, community feedback, and national best practices centered around implementing an equitable approach to the specific neighborhood revitalization project. The course is divided into three parts.

Part I: The evolution of neighborhoods and the impact of key housing and economic development policy at the local and national level for many predominantly African-American neighborhoods

Part II: The historical and modern context of the neighborhood will be discussed. Specifically, focusing on how the same national policy and divestment dynamics played out in this Memphis neighborhood; an analysis of modern geospatial neighborhood data and other public data to establish a baseline for the holistic health of the neighborhood today

Part III: The class will work in partnership with a specified community partner, to help design and implement the specific plan; students will be responsible for a specific aspect of the project; class will culminate with a presentation of key deliverables to the residents of the neighborhood.