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NPU University courses are free to Atlanta residents and business owners, and there is no limit to the number of courses students can take. Students may register to attend as many or as few courses as they wish.


While most courses are open to the public, courses marked with an asterisk are cohort courses and are carefully curated to ensure diversity of perspective. Cohort courses may not allow registration on a first-come, first-serve basis, and priority is given to students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate program. 

Students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate (CPC) Program must complete any three (3) of the following courses or one (1) of the following courses and CL1007.


CL1001    Chairpersons’ Annual Update, Training, and Orientation |  6 Hours  |   Offered: Winter

This full-day course is required for all elected Chairs and optional for all elected Vice-Chairs. The course is designed to train and refresh new and returning NPU Chairs on effective leadership of a neighborhood planning unit, including responsibilities under the Code of Ordinances, meeting facilitation, verbal and written communication, diversity, and community engagement, and voting procedures. The course will provide Chairs with updated information on new processes and procedural matters such as agenda drafting, ethics, communications, and reporting. The course concludes with a collaborative discussion between Chairs on best practices.


CL1002                            Elected Officers Orientation   |   3 hours  | Offered: Fall

This course is required for all elected secretaries and optional for all other elected officers. The course will provide an overview of the relationship between the City of Atlanta and the individual NPU. Participants will review the documentation required to formalize the NPU’s official recommendation to the City of Atlanta. New and returning officers will receive tips for accurate record-keeping and accounting, as well as an introduction to ethics, open records, and open meetings.

CL1003.001                     Introduction to Parliamentary Procedures  3 hours  |   Offered: Winter

Parliamentary procedure is the code of rules and ethics for neighborhood organizations, city councils, and other deliberative bodies to transact business fairly, efficiently, orderly, and expeditiously. Conducted by a registered parliamentarian, this course is designed for community leaders new to using parliamentary procedure, or who would benefit from a refresher on the fundamental concepts of effective and fair meeting procedure. The basic tenets of Robert’s Rules of Order are taught to arm presiding officials with the tools necessary to run successful and productive gatherings.


CL1003.002       Parliamentary Procedures II: Managing Discussion Around Hot Topics to Conduct Efficient Meetings      3 hours | Offered: Spring

This class is designed for community leaders who struggle with getting through their agendas timely; want to implement strategy from Robert’s Rules of Order to develop more effective committees or need tools for managing spirited debate and discussion during meetings.  Participants will be armed with the tools necessary to run efficient, fair, and timely meetings.


CL1003.003       Parliamentary Procedures III: Membership has its Privileges     3 hours    |   Offered: Spring

The chief decision-makers in an organization are its members. This course is designed to instruct residents on the rights, privileges, and obligations they have as members of an NPU or neighborhood organization.  Community members can participate in decision-making for their organizations using parliamentary procedure. This class is designed to teach NPUs and community organization members how to use parliamentary procedure to participate in the civic process.


CL1003.004       Parliamentary Procedures IV: The Role of a Chairperson or Presiding Officer        3 hours |
Offered: Summer

This class is designed for NPU chairs or presiding officers who want a better understanding of best practices for running effective meetings to improve meeting productivity and effectiveness. Having a grasp of parliamentary procedure, following board rules and agendas, and respecting member roles can make everyone a better leader. When leaders exhibit such skills and follow the rules the public will too. 


CL1004.001/CL1004.002  Community Leadership Institute* - Fall and Spring Cohort  30 hours 

This six-week certificate course series is a collaboration between the City of Atlanta and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, designed for Atlanta residents who want to strengthen their leadership and problem-solving skills as board members, community/neighborhood leaders, or civic leaders. The course covers such topics as conflict management, ethics, public speaking, citizen engagement, consensus-building, and problem-solving.


CL1005   Bylaws Clinic       2 hours | Offered: Summer

The first half of this course, designed specifically for NPU leaders and NPU Bylaws Committee members, will give students an overview of what the Code of Ordinances requires for NPU bylaws, how to prepare bylaws that reflect the character of the NPU, and how to ensure integrity, transparency and community engagement in the amendment and voting process. The second half of the course will allow participants to review and discuss proposed amendments to their bylaws.

CL1006                                          Election Integrity Clinic            2 hours |  Offered: Summer
Elections processes vary widely across neighborhood planning units and other neighborhood organizations. An effective election process attracts strong leaders, ensures integrity, and maintains the trust of the community. This course is designed to prepare participants for NPU elections by exploring best practices for conducting a fair, clean and transparent election process. NPU leaders, election committee members, and lay members will learn how to conduct elections openly and objectively and will learn the necessary steps to avoid common mistakes and protect their NPUs against elections challenges and voter disenfranchisement.


Students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate (CPC) Program must complete P1004.001 and any three (3) of the following courses.


P1004.001         Zoning Fundamentals I                                            3 hours |      Offered: Spring

This beginner-level course is designed to make zoning terms and concepts easier for ordinary residents to understand. Upon completion of the course, attendees will understand what zoning is, what specific zoning types are, how to find the zoning for any property, and why zoning is important. The course will explain the City of Atlanta’s zoning review processes and the life cycle of a zoning application. Upon completion of the course, community leaders will be equipped with the information they need to explain zoning-related voting items on their meeting agendas.


P1004.002         Zoning Fundamentals II       3 hours | Offered: Spring

This course will examine how zoning shapes neighborhoods and is used as a tool to support orderly and strategic growth and development for corridors, neighborhoods and cities. This course includes activities designed to give students an opportunity to apply zoning concepts to corridors and neighborhoods in Atlanta. Prerequisite: P1004.001.


P1004.003         Zoning Fundamentals Lab   3 hours |   Offered: Spring

This course is a cumulation of ideas and concepts from Zoning Fundamentals I and II. Students will examine actual zoning cases analyze current trends in local land-use and development regulation for City of Atlanta corridors, and neighborhoods. This course includes the following cases from beginning to end as well as how to apply zoning concepts to corridors and neighborhoods in Atlanta. Prerequisites: P1004.001 and P1004.002.


P1005                Building Permits for Beginners         2 hours |  Offered: Summer

This course will teach residents the basics of submitting building applications, permits, and approvals successfully with the City of Atlanta. Students can expect to learn the building approval process in the City of Atlanta as well as what permits are required for a building project – building permits, demolition permits as well as occupancy permits. This course will teach you what relevant documentation is required as well as what pitfalls to avoid.


P1006 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems     2 hours |                  Offered: Spring
This course provides basic understanding of GIS Technology. GIS helps city and regional planners understand what, why, and where something is happening to assess past and existing conditions (change analysis), project future conditions, and model alternative scenarios to not only support informed decisions on initiatives, programs, and plans but to also serve the public.                                                                                           

P1007 – Introduction to Comprehensive Development Planning 2 hours | Offered: Fall

The comprehensive development plan is Atlanta’s guide for growth and development. Participants will be introduced to the plan and learn about its relationships with Atlanta City Design and other citywide, neighborhood and small area plans. This course includes activities to shape future comprehensive planning as the Department of City Planning prepares for the next update.


P1008 Neighborhood Planning Series*    Hours Varies | Offered: Spring, Summer, and Fall

This series provides an opportunity for students to explore neighborhood planning concepts through lectures, panel discussions and workshops. The course includes discussion on such topics as economic development, sustainability, housing innovation, design/architecture, historic preservation, community engagement, mobility, and transit. It also offers an ongoing lecture series available to the public in which thought leaders from around the City will discuss topics in neighborhood planning and the Atlanta City Design. Discussions include:

  • P1008.001 - Atlanta City Design
    The Atlanta City Design: Aspiring to the Beloved Community, a guiding document for the City of Atlanta which articulates an aspiration for the future city that Atlantans can fall in love with.


  • P1008.002 – Equity in Mobility and Transportation
    Explore opportunities for guiding Atlanta's neighborhoods towards achieving equity in mobility. Mobility - access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options - is one of the most critical components to leading a healthy, independent, and connected life. This two-hour panel discussion and Q&A in our Neighborhood Planning Lecture Series engages thought leaders, community leaders, and mobility and transportation advocates in a conversation on how equitable mobility can impact neighborhoods and how neighborhoods can impact equitable mobility.  


  • P1008.003– Community Engagement Sessions
    Various workshops/sessions are being offered to the community to provide updates and dialogue from the community on projects or initiatives in the City.


P1009 – Mobile Workshop     2 Hours | Offered: Fall

Mobile workshops give participants an opportunity to explore various planning projects, historic sites, landmarks, and neighborhood features. 



Students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate (CPC) Program must complete CP1001 or CP1002, CP1008, and anyone (1) of the following courses.


CP1001              The Legislative Process  2 hours |  Offered: Summer

This course will equip students with an understanding of the legislative process in the City of Atlanta. Attendees will gain an in-depth knowledge of how legislation is written, debated, and voted upon, and how they can engage and participate in citywide decision making.

CP1002              NPU 101: How Does the NPU System Work?        2 hours | Offered: Spring

The City of Atlanta is divided into twenty-five Neighborhood Planning Units or NPUs, which are citizen advisory councils that make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on zoning, land use, and other planning issues.  This course is an introductory class teaching residents their rights and benefits under this organized group of neighbors as well as how these bodies are run.


CP1003              Civic Participation for Seniors                                          1 hour | Offered: Spring
Civic participation amongst senior populations is one of the very pillars that Atlanta communities were built on. How can those who paved the way, continue to stay active in a changing world and what are the benefits? Civic engagement can allow seniors to maintain a healthy, active, and engaged life through building relationships, reducing loneliness and social isolation. This panel of local and active senior citizens will discuss ways they remain politically savvy.


CP1004              Civic Participation for Millennials         2 hours | Offered: Fall
Millennials have come of age in a time of shifting landscapes and tumultuous change. Growing up in the Information Age, Millennials are empowered by information and demand transparency and authenticity. Millennials have already confronted several major crises—from domestic terrorism to the Great Recession to COVID 19. Their unique historic experiences have shaped their relationship with politics and their communities. This panel of local Millennials will discuss how powerful of a political force they can be.


CP1005              Civic Responsibility and Engagement for Young Adults*       35 hours |  Offered: Spring

This week-long academy for high school students explores the importance of getting young adults engaged in political, economic, and social conversations and empowers them to become agents of change in their local communities. The course will set in motion the formation of civic engagement habits to equip young people with the necessary skills for participation in community leadership, neighborhood empowerment, the legislative process, public engagement, and their individual responsibility to their community.


CP1006              Atlanta Community Engagement Playbook  6 hours | Offered: Summer

This course is designed specifically for community leaders and aspiring community leaders, with a shared interest in building successful engagement processes and reaching higher levels of community engagement. Higher levels of engagement mean that residents own and take leadership over civic change, rather than just observing or even providing feedback. Students will learn the 6 Guiding Principles of community engagement, how to train others, and what resources are available for rising community leaders. 

CP1007              Funding Resources for Neighborhood Organizations         2 hours |         Offered: Fall

This course explores grants, support, and other resources available to neighborhood organizations.


CP1008              Public Meetings

Students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate (CPC) program are required to attend a minimum of two of the following public meetings or hearings.

  1. Atlanta City Council

  2. Atlanta City Council Committees

  3. Atlanta Housing Board

  4. Atlanta Public School Board

  5. Board of Zoning Adjustment

  6. Dekalb County Commission

  7. Fulton County Commission

  8. Invest Atlanta Board of Directors

  9. License Review Board

  10. MARTA Board of Directors

  11. Tree Conservation Commission

  12. Urban Design Commission

  13. Zoning Review Board


CP1009                            Permitting Process & Participation            2 hours |      Offered: Spring

This course is designed to walk residents, the business community, and applicants through the entire process of special events permits and alcohol licenses, from application to approval. Attendees will learn the criteria the City of Atlanta uses to grant permits and licenses, and what questions residents should ask of applicants who present at NPU meetings.




Students enrolled in the Citizens Planner Certificate (CPC) Program must complete CD1004.001 and any two (2) of the following courses.


CD1001                           Workforce Development                                          2 hours |     Offered: May 2020

This course offers participants an overview of WorkSource Atlanta and the programs available to employers and career seekers. Designed for individual job seekers and community leaders who are interested in creating and implementing strategies to increase employment in distressed neighborhoods, the course will explore high demand occupations and industries, and discuss educational and career paths for budding professionals and tradespeople, and specific opportunities available to those seeking new or enhanced careers.


CD1002                           Code Enforcement Academy*       15 hours | Offered: Spring - Summer 2022

This five-session academy educates participants on how to fight blight in their communities by identifying, reporting and tracking code violations, such as abandoned, blighted properties, illegal dumping, overgrown lots and trash in the right-of-way. The course includes instruction from each city department that has a role in code enforcement, including Atlanta Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division and the Municipal Court.


CD1003                           Housing Security Series                                         

These courses cover the fundamentals of gentrification and displacement and introduce homeowners to the tools and resources available to help them protect their assets. Learn from real estate professionals, attorneys, and personal finance experts, and secure your path to legacy residency.

CD1003.001       Housing Security Series | Avoiding Housing Scams & Reducing Property Taxes   2 hours |    Offered: Spring

This course will describe common home scams to avoid. The course provides information on property tax exemptions that can help homeowners lower their property tax bills and information on how to appeal property tax assessments before the annual April 1 deadline.

CD1003.002    Housing Security Series | Avoiding Foreclosure     2 hours |  Offered: Spring

This course will provide information and strategies for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments.  The course features budgeting tips from a HUD-certified housing counselor and information about the foreclosure process in Georgia, strategies to prevent foreclosure, and loan modifications during COVID-19.

CD1003.003                   Housing Resources for Tenants    2 hours |  Offered: Summer           

This workshop will provide emergency housing assistance resources to help renters maintain stable, affordable housing.

CD1004.001                    Introduction to Invest Atlanta                                         2 hours | Offered: Spring

In this introductory course, participants will learn about programs offered by the City of Atlanta’s economic development agency. Instructors will provide an overview of the grants, loans, support and other incentives available to homebuyers, small business owners, and developers, and will gain an understanding of tax allocation districts (TADs), opportunity zones, and urban enterprise zones. Students will learn how Invest Atlanta’s tools can be used to increase economic prosperity for all Atlantans, revitalize neighborhoods and build vibrant, equitable communities.


CD1004.002       Understanding Workforce Housing and Affordability   2 hours |   Offered: Spring

This course covers the fundamentals of developing workforce housing, from funding to renting, with special focus on the project approval process.

CD1004.003                    Density Matters/Neighborhood Revitalization     2 hours | Offered: Summer
During this class, students will learn about neighborhood revitalization, how and why developers and retailers choose sites, and how projects may be funded.


CD1004.004                      Understanding Public Financing (TADs, bonds, NMTCs, LIHTC, etc)                                         2 hours |  Offered: Fall
This course provides an overview of public finance tools used to revitalize neighborhoods, and to create and sustain affordable housing.


CD1005                  Urban Plan Academy for Community Leaders         6 hours  | Offered:  Summer 
UrbanPlan Academy for Community Leaders is designed for community leaders to better understand the trade-offs and risks at play in the entitlement and negotiation process associated with land use, especially in public/private partnerships. Students will participate in an UrbanPlan case study -  a city-led redevelopment effort where compromise needs to be met between the locality, the development team selected in the RFP, and the community.


*Courses CD 1005, CL1004.001/CL1004.002 are most effective when participants represent varied perspectives. These classes may not register applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, and may require a separate application and interview to ensure the cohort is diverse.



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