PLAD Faculty and Former PLAD Colleague Publish Paper in APA Journal 

John Harris, director of the Division of Planning, Landscape Architecture and Design, and C. Aujean Lee, former faculty in the Gibbs PLAD division, recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Planning Association. The paper, “Practitioner Perceptions of City-Subcontracted Community Organizing,” examines local practitioner perceptions of a commonly used subcontracting arrangement using nonprofit subcontractors. 

Municipal planning departments use nonprofit subcontractors to increase neighborhood community organizing. Lee and Harris’s study is the first of its kind to assess practitioner perceptions of this arrangement and its effect on racial inequities in communities. While nonprofits can be important partners in expanding neighborhood organization efforts, Lee and Harris’s study highlights the existing disparities in this process. 

For their research, Lee and Harris conducted an exploratory study of Oklahoma City by interviewing residents and a nonprofit that is contracted to do neighborhood organizing. Their findings suggest that, while the practice improves some elements of community organizing, it also perpetuates existing disparities caused by the long-standing challenges of systemic racism. 

Read the full paper at