The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD) values community engagement and takes the task of applied research, planning and community design seriously. Many of our courses and studio projects are developed in collaboration with community partners to engage students in practical issues that face people in the city and our region. Since 2002, AUPD faculty have engaged students in more than 100 community projects, applied research and studio assignments with a wide variety of community partners in the Kansas City area. In 2006, we worked in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina to help neighborhoods and local businesses rebuild with The Urban Conservancy. Our work led to the development of the Lafitte Greenway - a new public space and greenway in the heart of the city's Mid City Neighborhood. We regularly work with neighborhoods in the Kansas City area to promote community-based planning and urban design. In 2015, we established the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods which provides a public forum for the development of neighborhood leadership and governance in Kansas City and western Missouri. Since 2016, we have worked to better integrate international partnerships and learning opportunities into our core courses and studios. We've collaborated with faculty and students at the Hochshule Augsburg in Germany (2016, 2019) as well as the member cities of the UNESCO Creative City Network (UCCN).

The hard work of our students and faculty in community engagement has been recognized with these awards:

  • 2019, American Planning Association, Award for Student Poster Research, “Comparative Urbanism” (International, Comparative and Global Planning Track)
  • 2018, MO APA Best Student Project Award
  • 2016, UMKC Trustees Award for Service
  • 2014, the Department received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
  • 2008, President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Engagement


We make a point to study a widely diverse cross section of our city and its environs (and sometimes beyond). Being involved in real-life situations helps both our students and our community. Our outreach and community engagement efforts have led to the development of the Center for Neighborhoods


Think you might have an idea for a future area of study? We’re always happy to talk, and see if your situation has a place in the curriculum. You can contact our department using the information at right. (An email describing what you’re thinking of is best, and easiest to get to the right person.)