Community Planning Lab


The Community Planning Lab is a course designed for Summit County residents, community leaders, business owners, and other community stakeholders who want to be more engaged in and better understand processes that drive local planning and land use policy decisions.  The course aims to empower community members to be more involved in shaping the future of Summit County.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a cost involved?

    No. The Community Planning Lab is free to community members and stakeholders who are selected to participate through the application process. Learn more below. 
  • What does the curriculum cover?

    The curriculum begins by reviewing planning history, including the impacts of planning policy in and around Summit County. We will then cover a core curriculum including zoning, public processes and how to make an impact, urban design principles, transportation, affordable housing, sustainable development, and finance. We will take a field trip to a site to be determined by participant interest and site availability.  
  • What are the outcomes? How do participants use what they've learned? 

    Though this is a first for Summit County, there are numerous planning academies across North America. Participants from other academies have taken on leadership roles in various capacities, including joining Planning Commissions and County Councils.  Other planning academy alumni have taken on leadership roles within their neighborhoods. Still others have led efforts to distribute food, organize art and civic projects, and more.
  • When will classes be held?

    Classes will be held either virtually or in person from 6-8 PM on Monday evenings for ten sessions, beginning January 23, 2023 and ending April 10, 2023. Classes will not be held the week of February 20. One field trip may be organized earlier in the evening, but you will be given advanced notice.  Note: when classes are held in person, there will not be a Zoom option.  We will all meet in person, or all meet online via Zoom.
  • Who is eligible?

    Applicants should be willing to contribute and to learn! Applicants must also have a strong interest in Summit County. You may be a resident, business or property owner, employee of a business, volunteer in the area, or other interested stakeholder. You must be willing to commit to attending all ten classes in the Community Planning Lab course. This translates to approximately 2.5 hours per week, not including the week of February 20, 2023. No educational or professional planning experience is necessary or expected - this is a class for community!  

    In addition, to adults in the community, current students between the ages of 15 and 17 are welcome to apply. Be sure to submit a letter of agreement signed by a parent or guardian if you will be under 18 as of January 23, 2023.

  • Do I have to apply?

    Yes. Click HERE for application instructions. 

  • When is the application deadline?

    Applications for the Community Planning Lab are due by December 2, 2022 at 5:00 PM.
  • How will applications be reviewed?

    This class is limited to 35 people to encourage interaction and community building. We anticipate receiving more applications than seats. We are looking for community members dedicated to Summit County and interested in supporting and leading their community. We will also consider areas of interest and written responses to the application questions.
  • Why does the application ask for my address and age?

    We are aiming to create a cohort that has a wide range of interests and also includes people from a range of ages and geographic locations in order to encourage rich conversations.