Nancey Green Leigh, FAICP

Nancey Green Leigh, FAICP

Professor of City and Regional Planning

Associate Dean for Research, College of Architecture

ngleigh [at] coa [dot] gatech [dot] edu
Phone: (404) 894-9839Fax: (404) 894-1628Office location: 245 4th Street NW Room 212

View Leigh's full C.V.

Professor Nancey Green Leigh joined City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994, after teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California – Berkeley.  She specializes in economic development planning with a particular focus on sustainability and redevelopment, and is a national Brownfields Redevelopment expert. She is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Regents Fellow of the University of California and past Vice President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.  She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2008. She is the author of over 50 articles and three books, Stemming Middle Class Decline: The Challenge to Economic Development Planning (1994); Economic Revitalization: Cases and Strategies for City and Suburb (2002 with Joan Fitzgerald); and Planning Local Economic Development, 4th edition, with Edward J. Blakely.  Both Economic Revitalization and  Planning Local Economic Development have been adopted by a wide array of classes in the Social Sciences across the United States.

Since 2006, Dr. Leigh has led a large scale research effort involving three universities focused on sustainable industrial systems for urban regions and funded by the National Science Foundation. Her long-term brownfield redevelopment work led to her testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on reauthorizing the national brownfields program in 2008. In  mid-2010, Leigh assumed the Directorship of the School of City and Regional Planning’s Doctoral Program. Outside of the university, she co-chairs the Sustainable Economic Development Committee for the new city of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. 

Educational Background

Ph.D. (City & Regional Planning), University of California at Berkeley
Masters in Economics, University of California at Berkeley
Masters in Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A. (Urban Studies), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • Economic Development Planning
  • Sustainable Development
  • Urban and Regional Theory
  • Industrial Restructuring
  • Income Inequality

Links and Downloads

Recent Grants
  • Georgia Transportation Institute/University Transportation Center “Effects of Private Transportation Improvements on Economic Development,” Co-Principal Investigators – Bert Bras and Nancey Green Leigh, Senior Researcher – Jiawen Yang, July 2010 - December 2011.
  • National Science Foundation, Office of International Studies and Education,  “Designing E-Waste Material Flow Systems for Sustainable Regional Economic Development: Exploring U.S. and Chinese Approaches,” International Research Workshop, August 1-3, 2010 in Guangzhou, China.
  • Atlanta Development Authority, “An Atlanta Plan for Industrial Land and Sustainable Industry” Studio, August – December 2009.
  • Minerva Corporation, “Friendship Village Studio.” August – December 2008.
  • National Science Foundation, Collaborative Research Grant “Materials Flow Modeling in Sustainable Industrial Systems Within Urban Centers,” June 2006 – August 2011.  Principal Investigator, Steve French, Bert Bras, John Muzzy, and Joyce Cooper, University of Washington, Seattle, and Randall Jackson, University of West Virginia.  
  • National Science Foundation, Planning Grant: “Materials Flow Modeling in Sustainable Industrial Systems Within Urban Centers,” August 2004-December 2006.  Co-Principal Investigators – Nancey Green Leigh and Catherine Ross, Senior Researchers -- Steve French, Bert Bras, Matthew Realff.


Research Groups/Labs
SISFUR, Sustainable Industrial Systems for Urban Regions. See:


  • Leigh, N. & Blakely, E. (2013). Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (5th ed.): Routledge. 

  • Blakely, E., & Leigh, N. (2010). Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (4th ed.): Sage Publications, Inc., with Edward J. Blakeley.
  • Economic Revitalization:  Cases and Strategies for City and Suburb, Thousand Oaks:  Sage Publications, March 2002, with Joan Fitzgerald.
  • Stemming Middle-Class Decline: The Challenges to Economic Development Planning, Rutgers, NJ:  CUPR Press, 1994.  Six published reviews. (Refer to supplementary documentation).
Recent Articles/Book Chapters

Recent Courses

Recent Studio Reports

  • Atlanta Industrial Land and Sustainable Industry Plan, A City and Regional Planning Fall 2009 Studio
  • A sustainable development plan for the proposed Friendship Village (Appendix) in the Chattahoochee Hill Country. Fall 2008 Studio
  • City ReAssembly When the Auto Plant Closes:  Redevelopment Opportunities for Doraville, Fall 2006 Studio
  • City ReAssembly When the Auto Plant Closes:  Redevelopment Analysis for Hapeville, Georgia, Fall 2006 Studio

Dissertations Supervised

  • Mitch Moody, “Georgia’s Structurally Unemployed Workers:  Do State Job Training Programs Help?” December 2008.
  • Lynn Patterson, “Local Economic Development Agency Support for Construction & Demolition Recycling,” May 2007. (recipient of College of Architecture Templar Award for best research)
  • Sugie Lee, “Analyzing Metropolitan Growth Patterns of the Inner-Ring Suburbs: ob for Smart Growth,” April 2005. Co-Advisor with Steven L. French.
  • Sarah Coffin, “The Brownfield Reality Check:  A Study of Land Value and the Effects of Brownfields on the Location of Section 8 Housing.”  May 2002. (recipient of College of Architecture Templar Award for best research; funded by US HUD Doctoral Fellowship & Lincoln Institute for Land Policy Dissertation Fellowship.)  

Current PhD Students

    • Taelim Choi
    • Jay Forrest
    • Nate Hoelzel
    • Jeong-Il Park
    • Raymond White