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A large number of the planning faculty address community development, both in terms of its theoretical conceptualizations and in practice. Community development includes issues of affordable housing, place-making and revitalization, neighborhood-based planning, brownfield restoration, public and community engagement, and rebuilding communities after disasters. A concern with social justice transcends much of this work, and addresses the fairness in planning decisions and urban outcomes, and the empowerment and participation of minority groups in urban and environmental planning processes, and the unequal impacts of environmental hazards.
The integration of justice, access, fairness, empowerment with community development has led to the examination of community vulnerability to natural hazard threats, the rebuilding of New Orleans and coastal villages in Thailand, the development of resiliency plans in marginalized U.S. cities, assessment of urban indicators for sustainability, and evaluation of the impact of the foreclosure crisis on low-income renters. This theme has also involved using coursework to develop community designs for central city neighborhoods through funded workshops and studios.