Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Katherine B Hankins

Second Advisor

Dr. John W Matthews

Third Advisor

Dr. Dajun Dai


This thesis compares the experiences of citizens who regularly participate in the planning and zoning processes of their respective local governments. Atlanta has had a highly structured system of neighborhood government in place for over 35 years, called Neighborhood Planning Units. Enacted by Atlanta’s first African-American Mayor, NPUs were meant to facilitate the civic engagement of all neighborhoods, regardless of socioeconomic status. The role and boundaries of NPUs are codified in the City Charter. Unincorporated Cobb County, Georgia is a large, urbanizing-but-still-suburban county north of the city. Cobb does not officially recognize community boundaries nor is there a codified neighborhood government structure in place. By comparing the two systems of governance, this thesis will examine which best facilitates participation and whether respondents feel efficacious as they engage with their local government. The findings matter because citizen participation is generally deemed a desirable and even necessary element of modern, representative democracy.


Guide to Supplemental NNI Presentations.pdf (40 kB)
Guide to Supplemental Neighborhood Notifiction Initiative Presentations Following completion of the Master of Arts degree in Geography at Georgia

1 NeighborhoodNotificationProposalforCobb2012.pdf (2046 kB)
An overview and narrative of the Stakeholder process

2 NNIproposalforCobb062313presentationtoBoC.pdf (979 kB)
The PowerPoint presentation given by Brown to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners on June 23, 2013 at a televised work session.

2a NNI Presentation notes062313.pdf (93 kB)
NNI Presentation notes062313 – Notes used with the June 23 Presentation

3 8.23.2013_Memo ComDev Analysis of NNI cost.pdf (210 kB)
Presentation given by Planning Division Manager Dana Johnson in response to the NNI proposal, August 23, 2013

4 Response to PlanningDiv Analysis on NNI.pdf (70 kB)
Response to PlanningDiv Analysis on NNI – Brown responds to the Planning Manager's NNI Analysis

5 CobbCountyhomepageNov4.jpg (104 kB)
Screenshot of Cobb County's web page November 4, 2013 which announced implementation of the zoning notification sign up program