Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office is accepting applications for its 2008-09 Community Planning Fellowship Program for second-year graduate planning students. This program pairs students with community boards, where students work 15 hours per week with board staff and membership to address planning priorities. Applications will be accepted through June 16. More info after the jump.


About the Program

The Manhattan Borough President’s Community Planning Fellowship combines work in the offices of community boards with a seminar component that explores key issues in community planning. The program is designed to engage outstanding second-year graduate planning students in public service and to provide practical educational experience. The program has a dual purpose: (1) to enhance the capacity of community boards to undertake planning activities, and (2) to impart on the next generation of planners an acute appreciation of local government and the community perspective.

The Fellowship is highly competitive and provides a unique opportunity for hands-on experience working with communities on planning issues. The Fellowship also represents an excellent opportunity to inform thesis work and/or other academic assignments. Past Fellows have worked to complete community-based plans (197-a plans); develop recommendations on land use applications (ULURP); map and analyze neighborhood conditions; and research landmarks/historic sites.


Each fellow works with one of Manhattan’s twelve community boards. Fellows work 15 hours per week with board staff and its membership to address planning priorities.

Fellows are engaged in a variety of planning activities depending on the wide-ranging needs and priorities of the boards. Project assignments may focus on physical planning, policy research, problem-solving day-to-day matters or longer-term service delivery concerns, and public outreach activities.


An intensive one-day orientation provides fellows with an overview of community boards and the planning functions of City agencies. The orientation is organized by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office (MBPO) with participation by boards and partnering schools. Fellows will be assigned to specific community boards based on students’ skills and interests and the needs of each board.


Fellows are required to meet as a group at least four times per semester. The seminar component allows fellows to share experiences, to learn about community planning issues, and to obtain support on challenging academic, technical or practical matters presented by project work. Guest speakers will include professors, representatives from City agencies and staff of the MBPO. City Planning Commissioners Angela Cavaluzzi and Karen A. Phillips were the guest speakers at the 2007 Fall Seminar. The 2008 Spring Seminar featured Robert Hammond, Co-Founder of Friends of the High Line.


The Fellowship is coordinated by the MBPO in conjunction with one partnering institution, which provides an academic grounding for the program. Planning projects and work plans are designed collaboratively in advance by the MBPO and each board. Community boards are required to provide sufficient supervision, suitable work space and additional resources as needed.


Fellows are required to maintain a weekly journal of activities. End-of-semester evaluations by community boards and a faculty member or other campus mentor will determine the continuation of the fellowship. Partnering schools may have additional requirements. The fellowship lasts both semesters of the academic year.


Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500 per semester. Depending on the student’s home school, the fellowship may qualify for academic credit and/or be work-study eligible.


Potential candidates must obtain a recommendation letter from his or her program director or faculty advisor and meet the following criteria: completed two semesters of graduate work in urban planning or a related discipline; proven familiarity with land use, demographics, local government and experience working with diverse communities; demonstrable skills in research, computer applications, policy and/or planning analysis; and excellent communication skills. Past Fellows have represented City College/CUNY, Columbia University, Hunter College/CUNY, New School University, New York University, the Pratt Institute and Rutgers University.


Applicants must submit a cover letter, a list of completed courses, a resume and the recommendation letter. The cover letter (no longer than two pages) should describe the goals for applying and convey the applicant’s interests in community development and past experience serving communities.

All application materials must be emailed to by June 15, 2008. Selected finalists will be contacted on or before June 30, 2008 to schedule an interview with MBPO staff.