Frequently Asked Questions

A planning academy is a series of workshops designed to help residents understand the major components of local government functions and the role and responsibilities of planning agencies in guiding development alongside community stakeholders. These programs serve as an opportunity to inform residents on local land use law, educate residents on contemporary planning issues that affect their communities, and build capacity among residents. Most importantly, a planning academy serves as an opportunity to restore public trust and build meaningful relationships between residents and government officials.

The Prince George’s County Planning Department launched the Neighborhood Planning Academy as a critical community outreach and training initiative. The goals of the academy are to:

  1. Support residents in understanding how the development process works in Prince George’s County to better engage in the planning process and local government, and advocate for community goals and visions
  2. Support municipalities in Prince George’s County that lack municipal planning staff to support ongoing initiatives in the planning and development process
  3. Support community stakeholders with building coalitions and understanding opportunities for input and empowerment
  4. Help local, small-scale developers understand how to navigate the development process for local neighborhood revitalization initiatives

The seven-week program will cover:

  • History, Present, and Future of Prince George’s County – The first session will provide a history of the County and review the structure of today’s county government. This session is critical to establish a strong foundation for participants to navigate subsequent lessons. Participants will be provided with a brief overview of the planning academy and an opportunity to introduce themselves and get to know each other.
  • Planning 101 – This session will provide a broad overview of the national history of planning and zoning and a focused investigation of local planning. Participants will learn more about the role of a planner, the role of residents in planning, how planning is implemented in Prince George’s County, and the legal framework for planning in the State of Maryland.
  • PGAtlas and DAMS -Participants will be provided with an overview of PGAtlas, a key tool used to understand the built environment and community landscape of Prince George’s County.
  • Development Review Process – How does a real estate development project go from concept to construction? This session will provide an overview of how projects are planned, reviewed, developed, funded and completed, with an emphasis on the role of residents and planners in the development process.    
  • Building Healthy, Sustainable, and Resilient Communities – What role do planners and residents have in ensuring public health, access to green space, clean air and water, energy security, and other important requirements for a healthy community? What strategies are planners and residents using here and elsewhere to prepare for a sustainable future? This session will explore the connections between environment, economy, and equity, and provide examples of new ways planners are addressing holistic threats like climate change.
  • Multimodal Transportation and Street Safety – This session will focus on the complex challenges of providing safe and efficient ways for Prince George’s County residents to get to their various destinations regardless of whether they choose to walk, bike, drive, or take public transportation. Guest speakers will introduce the role of transportation planners and highlight recent efforts to increase safety in Prince George’s County.  
  • Capstone Project & Graduation – The final session will include participant presentations, which can be completed in numerous ways (written document, video, photo collage, slideshow, public speech) and may focus on a topic of the students’ choosing relating to planning in Prince George’s County. This session will culminate with a graduation ceremony and dinner.

Neighborhood Planning Academy participants must be residents of Prince George’s County and age 18+.

The Neighborhood Planning Academy will have a cohort of 30-40 participants.  

Applications are available on this website. 

The Neighborhood Planning Academy is scheduled for seven successive Wednesdays from April 3 to May 15, 2024 at 6:30-8:30 PM.

The Neighborhood Planning Academy will be held virtually for the first six sessions and in person for the final session and graduation celebration. Final session location TBD.

The Neighborhood Planning Academy is being offered to interested Prince George’s County residents free of charge.

The Planning Department plans to continue to host academies once or twice a year. Check this website for new information on future academies and sign up for Neighborhood Planning Academy emails here.

The Prince George’s County Planning Department is providing the Neighborhood Planning Academy with the goal of removing barriers between residents and the planning process. Participants will come out of the academy with knowledge of the planning and development review process as well as specialized planning topics. Participants will also learn all the ways to engage in the planning process in order to help guide the development of their neighborhoods. Simply put, participants will have a say in the future of their community.

Yes, there will be weekly homework exercises or readings as well as a final project to write a multimedia essay (written/speech, collage of images, PowerPoint, or video) about your community. Participants will present their project during the final session.

For more information on the Neighborhood Planning Academy, email