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About Community + Regional Planning

The Mission of the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program is to plan and advocate with communities in the Southwest for their sustainable futures by delivering professional education, providing service, and engaging in useful research. The Program’s purpose is to provide future planners and professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support planning that is responsive to people and place. Students of the CRP program work with communities, including their own, to create community-based plans, programs and policies that sustain and enhance their culture, resource base, built environment and economic vitality.

Strategic Plan 2013-2018

The Statement on Justice

The rich variety of human cultures is a great resource that this Planning Program attempts to nurture. Racism, sexism and homophobia are persistent and pervasive evils that undermine the human species’ hopes for creativity and peace. Prejudicial beliefs, and the structures of power that embody and inflict them, affect all Planning. Grappling honestly with questions about bias is an intrinsic part of what it means to be a Planner. Among these questions are:

  • Why and by what means does one culture or group impose its values on another?
  • What allows a “dominant” culture to push other values to the margins?
  • What means of individual and group resistance are available against the resulting imbalance of power?
  • What circumstances give rise to such resistance; when and why does it fail to arise?
  • What cultural models can be found for societies without significant racist, sexist, or homophobic beliefs?
  • How do the attitudes and methods of Planners amplify, rigidify, or challenge dominant values, especially when embodied in policy or physical design?
  • What constitutes justice in a multicultural society, and how can Planning contribute to its achievement

The faculty considers it of vital importance to create a university climate in which all of us can unlearn those prejudices with which we were raised. In both academic study and personal interaction, we aim to replace bias with a healthy and active respect for the common traits and wonderful differences which, taken together, make us human.

The CRP program also seeks to understand and exercise ecological responsibility, regionally and globally. Both in coursework and informally, students and faculty are asked to think together on this pressing issue. To create a just system for global distribution of resources and population; to halt and reverse the ongoing mass extinction of irreplaceable organisms (including human minorities); and to repair, redesign, and recycle our biologically-damaging infrastructure – these will be the life’s work of this generation of Planners, lest they be the last generation of any human profession. The above questions about prejudice can all be directed at the ecological situation; cultural and ecological issues must in fact be resolved interdependently. Rising to this formidable challenge requires serious commitment from Planning students and faculty, both in their personal and professional lives.

New Mexico, both culturally and ecologically on the margins of the United States, provides excellent opportunities to study issues which are often marginalized, and to support voices from outside the “mainstream”.

Ethics Statement

CRP Faculty Statement on Ethics of Planning Research and Practice
Adopted by the CRP Faculty December 5, 2006 CRP

Program faculty, students and staff are dedicated to creating an environment in which ethical practice and academic integrity are valued and upheld by all. This statement elaborates the ethical principles that underlie the Program’s work. It is intended to serve as a guide to students in the conduct of their study.

The Ethics of Community-based Practice 
The CRP Program’s commitment to ethical practice begins with principles laid out by the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP/APA 1992; AICP 1991). In addition, the community-based mission of the Program necessarily involves students and faculty working in community settings with community members. This engenders a communitarian approach to research and practice, in which planners engage as co-participants in a “mosaic of communitarian values” (Christians, 2000). Though planners bring important expertise, facilitation skills and interpretative capacity to community planning problem solving, community based planning analysis comes from the collective deliberations of community members. Research and practice conducted under a communitarian ethic serve “the community in which research is carried out, rather than the community of knowledge producers and policymakers.” (Lincoln cited in Christians, page 145).

Academic Honesty 
CRP students are responsible for ensuring that the authorship of the ideas and information represented in their work is appropriately acknowledged. Plagiarism occurs when someone –knowingly or unknowingly – presents the words or ideas of another person or group of people as his or her own. This includes information gleaned not only from formally published documents, but also from interviews, newsletters, web sites, and even casual conversations. Of course, any work that students turn in must meet University standards for academic honesty.  In addition, the nature of CRP class work requires particular care in acknowledging the multiple sources of ideas, since and co-researchers.

CRP students should also take care to respect the voice of community participants and “informants” in their work. Research and practice in community and regional planning are often most effective and useful when undertaken in collaboration with community members. When working as “co-researchers” students are urged to reflect on their own power position relative to that of community participants, recognizing that those relationships are social, complex, shifting, historically and culturally situated, and manifested in the power to interpret facts and events. Students are encouraged to reflect on whether the ideas, interpretations or analysis reflected in their class work serve to appropriate community voices (Cordova, 1996), and must also balance community members’ desires for anonymity and/or protection from negative consequences of their speech. This is not always an easy terrain to negotiate, and students should ask faculty members for guidance on acknowledging community analysis and on the appropriate ways to ensure proper citation and informed consent of participants.

Research and Human Subjects
The UNM Institutional Review Board provides guidance on conducting research with human subjects, and provides UNM’s formal oversight on this matter. Though students are not always required to gain clearance from the IRB for their research projects, there are circumstances in which such reporting is required (

All research studies, including masters’ theses or professional projects, intended for publication or wide distribution, conducted under campus entities that involve human subjects must submit protocols to the IRB. Human subjects are defined as “living individuals about whom an investigator obtains data or identifiable private information through intervention or interaction.” The UNM IRB requires that all such work whose purposes and activities meet the definition of research: “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” go through IRB review. Expedited review by the IRB occurs when research involves no more than minimal risk to participants and can be reviewed by one member of the IRB or the IRB chair. When in doubt, students should contact their faculty members and/or the IRB to determine whether approval is required.

Classroom projects, problems courses, or independent studies that are exclusively for instructional purposes need not undergo IRB review. In these projects, faculty mentors are responsible for oversight of student research ethics in classroom contexts.

Formal research intended for publication may be exempted if it includes the use of existing data, documents, records or other publicly available sources that do not identify participants. Certain survey procedures, observations of public behavior, or educational tests may also qualify for exemption if the data are not sensitive, do not involve children and are recorded anonymously. Such research does, however, require formal exemption by the IRB.

CRP faculty members take responsibility for making students aware of the conditions of 

academic honesty and professional ethics and for providing guidance on how to achieve it. They inform students when their research must be submitted to the UNM Institutional Review Board (IRB). CRP faculty are also available to students for guidance on questions of research and practice ethics.

American Institute of Certified Planners “Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (Adopted October 1978 – As Amended October 1991)”, this is available on line at

American Institute of Certified Planners/ American Planning Association “Ethical Principles in Planning (As Adopted May 1992)”. This is available on line at

Christians, “Ethics and Politics in Qualitative Research”, in Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000, pp. 133-155.

Córdova, Teresa. 1994. “Refusing to Appropriate: The Emerging Discourse on Race and Planning”. Journal of the American Planning Association, 60(2), pp. 242- 243.

UNM Institutional Review Board Policy:

UNM Policy on Academic Dishonesty, UNM Pathfinder: