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WHO CAN ENROLL?

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. 

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

Students enrolled in the Citizen Planners Certificate (CPC) program must complete any three of the following courses or one of the following courses and CL1004. 

CL1002 ELECTED OFFICERS’ ORIENTATION  

This course is recommended for all elected NPU 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. 

Term(s): Winter  

CL1003.001 PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES I: INTRODUCTION TO PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES  

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, the first half of 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.  The second half of 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 and learn how to use parliamentary procedures to participate in the civic process.  

Term(s): Winter 

CL1003.002 PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES II: MANAGING DISCUSSION AROUND HOT TOPICS  

This class is designed to equip NPU chairs and presiding officers with the parliamentary skills to manage controversial topics in an inclusive manner that ensures participation. Students will learn ways to implement strategies from Robert’s Rules of Order and gain the tools necessary to run efficient, fair, and timely meetings.  Term(s): Summer  

 

CL1003.003 PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES III: ADVANCED PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES - MOCK MEETING 
This course will engage in hands-on exercises and simulations aimed at refining procedural expertise. Students will delve into the strategies and optimal approaches for conducting an equitable and effective meeting.  
Terms(s): Fall  

CL1004 COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE 

This six-week certificate course series is 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.  
Term(s): Summer/Fall 

CL1005 BYLAWS CLINIC  

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 students to review and discuss proposed amendments to their bylaws.  
Term(s): Summer 

CL1006 ELECTION INTEGRITY CLINIC  

Election 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 students for NPU elections by exploring best practices for conducting a fair, inclusive, and transparent election process for 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 and organizations against election challenges and voter disenfranchisement.  

Term(s): Summer 

PLANNING

Students enrolled in the CPC program must complete P1004.001 and any three of the following courses.  

P1004.001 ZONING FUNDAMENTALS I  

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, students will be equipped with the information they need to understand zoning-related voting items on their meeting agendas. 
Term(s): Winter 

P1004.002 ZONING FUNDAMENTALS II   

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 allow students to apply zoning concepts to corridors and neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Prerequisite: P1004.001 
Term(s): Spring 

  

P1004.003 ZONING FUNDAMENTALS LAB    

Students will close out Zoning Fundamentals I and II and gain a comprehensive understanding of how zoning decisions shape our environment, from urban landscapes to community amenities. Through engaging activities and Atlanta zoning examples, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to navigate and influence zoning processes effectively. Join us for an exciting journey into the heart of urban planning and development. 
Prerequisites: P1004.001 and P1004.002. 

Term(s): Summer 

 
P1005 BUILDING PERMITS FOR BEGINNERS AND ACCELA     

This course equips residents with essential knowledge for successfully submitting building applications and permits and gaining approvals from the City of Atlanta. Students will gain a thorough understanding of Atlanta’s building approval process, including the necessary permits for various permit types, such as building, trades, and trees; and certificates of occupancy. Additionally, students will be adept in utilizing the Accela platform, a trusted cloud-based system tailored for government agencies. By the end of the course, students will be well-versed in the required documentation and potential pitfalls to steer clear of when seeking building permits in the City. 
Term(s):  Spring 

P1006  INTRODUCTION TO GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS)                  

This course covers basic concepts 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 support informed decisions on initiatives, programs, and plans. In this course, GIS professionals demonstrate how Atlanta residents can use GIS to stay informed.  
Term(s): Summer 

 

P1007 INTRODUCTION TO COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND IMPACT FEES     
The comprehensive development plan is Atlanta’s guide for growth and development. Students will be introduced to comprehensive development planning 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 updates the current. Additionally, the course will introduce Impact Fees, which are fees imposed by municipalities during development approval to offset the costs associated with providing additional public services to accommodate new growth and development. 
Term(s): Winter 

 

P1008 NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING SERIES*  
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. 

 
P1008.001 ATLANTA CITY DESIGN: EQUITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION      

Explore the critical concepts of creating an inclusive and equitable city. This course places a strong emphasis on addressing issues of social justice, ensuring fair access to resources, and empowering communities. Explore strategies and best practices in urban planning that prioritize the needs of all residents, fostering a city that thrives on diversity and inclusivity. Gain valuable insights into building communities where everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish. 

Term(s): Fall  

 

P1008.002 ATLDOT VISION ZERO - BUILDING COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS FOR SAFE STREETS      
Discover the Vision Zero initiative, which envisions a transportation system where individuals are free from the risk of fatal or serious injuries during their daily travels. Learn how through strategic design and planning, we can significantly reduce the impact of human errors on road safety. Delve into ATLDOT's implementation of the Safe Systems Approach and understand how community education and support play a pivotal role in achieving the Vision Zero goal by 2040. Join us in creating safer streets and a more secure future for all. 
Term(s): Summer  

 

P1009 MOBILE WORKSHOPS 
Mobile workshops give students opportunities to learn outside of the classroom by exploring various planning projects, historic sites, landmarks, and neighborhood features. 

 

P1009.001 EXPLORING ATLANTA'S HISTORIC DISTRICTS     
This course provides a comprehensive exploration of Atlanta's historic districts, engaging students in the city's rich cultural, architectural, and social history. Students will develop a discerning eye for diverse architectural styles, fostering a deeper appreciation for Atlanta's unique heritage. Students will also explore the historical events that have shaped the City's neighborhoods and understand the ongoing efforts to preserve these cultural assets. We will then examine the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance, unraveling the details of its 10,710 designated landmark properties, historic buildings, sites, and districts. 

Term(s): Fall  

 

P1009.002  URBAN CANVAS: ZONING ATL     
Join us on a transformative journey into the heart of Atlanta's urban landscape with our mobile workshop, "Urban Canvas: Zoning ATL." Tailored for urban planners, architects, developers, beginners, and enthusiasts alike, this distinctive experience invites you to delve deep into the intricacies of Atlanta's zoning regulations and discover their profound influence on the City's dynamic development. Immerse yourself in an engaging exploration of the intricate relationship between policy and urban evolution in the vibrant tapestry of Atlanta's cityscape. 
Term(s): Spring 

 

P1009.003 EXPLORING ATLANTA'S TRANSPORTATION ECOSYSTEM    
his course is tailored for professionals, students, and enthusiasts in transportation, urban planning, engineering, and policymaking. This immersive experience offers an insider's perspective on Atlanta's Department of Transportation (ATLDOT), providing a firsthand understanding of the intricacies within the City's transportation landscape. The workshop facilitates exposure to contemporary innovations shaping the future of mobility in Atlanta. 
Term(s): Summer 

 

P1009.004 HOUSING EXPLORATORIUM     
This focused experience course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Atlanta's housing market and its dynamic trends. We will explore key aspects of Atlanta's housing policies, initiatives, community-driven development, and transit-oriented projects in a succinct and informative format. 
Term(s): Summer 

 

P1010 URBAN PLAN ACADEMY FOR COMMUNITY LEADERS  
Urban Plan Academy for Community Leaders is a one-day course designed to enhance community leaders’ understanding of the fundamental forces that affect real estate development, with a focus on the trade-offs and risks involved in the entitlement and negotiation process related to land use. Through project-based learning, students will engage in a city-led redevelopment effort, honing their skills in navigating and achieving compromises among the fictional neighborhood, the development team, and the community. 
Term(s): Spring and Fall 

P1011 CITY BUILT FOR THE FUTURE: CLIMATE ACTION IN ATLANTA 
This course will discuss the fundamentals of sustainability and introduce residents to tools and resources they can access to take action on climate change. Participants will also learn how to be involved with the City's sustainability planning activities and get an update on Clean Energy Atlanta, the City's plan to achieve 100% clean energy for 100% of Atlantans by 2035. 
Term(s): Spring 

 

CIVIC PARTICIPATION

Students enrolled in the CPC program must complete CP1001 or CP1002, CP 1008, and any one of the following courses.  

 

CP1001 THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS  
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.  
Term(s): Summer 
 

CP1002 NPU 101: HOW DOES THE NPU SYSTEM WORK?      
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 is an introductory course designed to teach residents, City employees, and stakeholders how the NPU system works and how it benefits the community and the City. 
Term(s): Spring  

 

CP1003 & 1004 BRIDGING GENERATIONS: COMMUNITY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN ATLANTA 
Participate in a panel discussion that discusses the cross-generational dynamics of community and civic engagement in the City of Atlanta. Esteemed panelists across different generations will provide valuable insights by sharing their experiences and perspectives. Gain a clearer understanding of how their civic involvement has contributed to the development of Atlanta's neighborhoods and overall growth. 
Term(s): Spring 

 

CP1005 CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY  FOR YOUNG LEADERS 

This week-long (35-hour) academy for high school students explores the importance of getting engaged in political, economic, and social conversations and empowers them to become agents of change in their local communities. Students will shadow city leaders, identify problems affecting their communities and consider solutions, practice public speaking, and participate in a mock council meeting – among other immersive experiences. 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 responsibility to their community. 

Term(s): Summer  
 
CP1006 ATLANTA COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAYBOOK 
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 six guiding principles of community engagement, how to train others, and what resources are available for rising community leaders. 
Term(s): Summer 

 

CP1008 PUBLIC MEETINGS   
Students enrolled in the Citizen Planners Certificate (CPC) program are required to attend a minimum of two of the following public meetings or hearings. 

  • Administrative In Rem Hearing 

  • Atlanta City Council 

  • Atlanta City Council Committees 

  • Atlanta Housing Board Meeting 

  • Atlanta Public School Board 

  • Board of Zoning Adjustments 

  • Dekalb County 

  • Fulton County Commission 

  • Invest Atlanta Board Meeting 

  • License Review Board 

  • MARTA Board Meeting 

  • Tree Conservation Commission 

  • Urban Design Commission 

  • Zoning Review Board 


CP1009 HISTORY OF NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING UNITS    
This course offers an examination of the creation and evolution of the City of Atlanta's Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs). Students will gain insights into local, state, and national influences that led to this new form of civic participation for Atlanta residents in 1974 – during Maynard Jackson's first year as mayor – and how it has changed over the next 50 years. The curriculum provides a comprehensive understanding of the people and processes that have played a pivotal role in shaping Atlanta's neighborhoods as we know them today. 
Term(s): Winter  

 

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Students enrolled in the CPC program must complete CD1004 and any two of the following courses. 

CD1002 CODE ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY 
This five-session academy educates students 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 the Atlanta Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division and the Municipal Court. 
Term(s): Fall  

 

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. Students will learn from real estate professionals, attorneys, and personal finance experts, and secure a path to legacy residency. 

 
CD1003.001 REDUCING PROPERTY TAXES WITH HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTIONS AND APPEALS 
This course will provide students with valuable information regarding property tax exemptions, enabling homeowners to reduce their property tax bills effectively. Additionally, the course will offer insights into the process of appealing property tax assessments before the annual April deadline. 
Term(s): Spring 
 
CD1003.002 NAVIGATING MORTGAGE AND RENTER CHALLENGES: A GUIDE FOR  ATLANTA’S RESIDENTS 

This course aims to empower homeowners facing mortgage challenges with vital strategies. Students will get budgeting tips from a HUD-certified counselor and understand Georgia's foreclosure process. Renters will learn about emergency housing resources, strategies, and available support for stable, affordable housing. 
Term(s): Fall 

 

CD1004 INTRODUCTION TO INVEST ATLANTA  
In this introductory course, students 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. 
Term(s): Winter 

 

CD1005 UNDERSTANDING WORKFORCE HOUSING AND AFFORDABILITY  
When determining how to design and measure the impact of their housing initiatives, cities use as a key metric the area median income (AMI). AMI is a measure of the midpoint of a specific area’s income and is calculated annually by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Since AMI is used to determine eligibility for housing programs, community leaders and members must understand how it all works. In this course, students will learn what AMI is, how it is calculated, why it is important; and how housing affordability works. 
Term(s): Fall 

 

CD1006 DENSITY MATTERS AND NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION  
In this course, students will learn how neighborhoods are revitalized, including the factors developers and retailers consider during site selection. This course will review the development aspects of building communities and spurring economic growth, and the path followed by developers to complete revitalization projects. 
Term(s): Summer 

 

CD1007 UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC FINANCING  
This course provides an overview of public finance tools such as tax allocation districts (TADs), New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), and bonds, used to revitalize neighborhoods and to create and sustain affordable housing. Students will explore the Invest Atlanta toolbox of funding programs and products that help developers build single-family and multi-family communities. 
Term(s): Spring 

 

CD1008 LIVED EXPERIENCE: EXPLORING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY THROUGH EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING 
Be prepared to experience what it is like to look for a home in your community that meets your family's budget. The catch: life will set your budget at 60% or less of the area median income.  How do you go about finding such affordable homes? How do I get one for my family? What are the living conditions? Facilitators, with lived experience, will guide participants through a simulation to explore the meaning of housing affordability. 
Term(s): Spring 

 
*Courses CL1004, CD1002, and P1010 are most effective when students 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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