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The decentralization of population, housing, and economic activity, which has accommodated economic growth and social mobility, has channeled private and public investments away from established cities and towns. As a result, the diversity of cities and the sense of community in neighborhoods and smaller places has given way to greater segregation, separation, and alienation. Housing and Community Development (H/CD) seeks ways to increase individual empowerment, economic opportunity, social integration, wealth building, and home ownership through community revitalization in central cities, older suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. The program emphasizes affordable housing development, neighborhood and downtown revitalization, and commercial redevelopment. Special attention is devoted to the unique assets and liabilities of low wealth inner-city communities.

Faculty in the Housing and Community Development at Carolina Planning are nationally recognized scholars. The specialization teaches students the complexity of hard issues like gentrification and the affordable housing crisis and teaches the financial know-how (proformas, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit etc.) necessary to have an impact in this space.

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Career Opportunities

Given the widespread interest in the provision of affordable housing and healthy communities, graduates who completed the H/CD specialization have gone on to work for a variety of organizations including all three levels of government; national, regional and local non-profit organizations; for-profit and nonprofit housing developers; and consulting firms that specialize in H/CD.  Those more interested in housing and community development policy and program administration have secured positions with the U.S. Department of Housing and Development and a variety of state organizations including Departments of Community Development and Housing Finance Agencies.  Those interested in supporting community development corporations across the country have found employment with national H/CD technical assistance organizations such as the Enterprise Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Others interested in working at the community level have found employment with local planning, community development and housing agencies, local community development corporations, as well as regional and local affordable housing developers.  In all these positions students have made important contributions to the goal of providing decent, affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods for all.


The following courses are required for students in the specialization. Requirements are determined by year of matriculation.

Core Courses

PLAN 760 – Real Estate Investment and Affordable Housing
PLAN 761 – Housing and Public Policy
PLAN 763 – Urban Neighborhood Revitalization
PLAN 769 – Housing & Community Development Planning & Policy

Law Requirement

HCD students can take PLAN 724 Law for Planners or LAW 255 Housing Law to satisfy the law course requirement.

Recommended Electives

Recommended planning electives include Development Dispute Resolution (PLAN 725) and courses in the Business School, such as Managing Not-for-Profit Organizations, and in the School of Social Work, especially Community Organizing and Sustainable Development, and Citizen Participation.

Sample Curriculum

Semester 1

  • 710 Microeconomics
  • 714 Urban Spatial Structure
  • 720 Planning Methods
  • 769 HCD Planning & Policy

Semester 2

  • 704 Theory of Planning
  • 760 Real Estate Investment and Affordable Housing
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective

Semester 3

  • 761 Housing & Public Policy
  • HCD Course
  • Workshop
  • Elective

Semester 4

  • Master’s Paper
  • Law
  • Elective
  • Elective
Courses with an asterisk are required for this specialization