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Arthur C. Nelson

Professor of Planning and Real Estate, University of Arizona

Arthur C. Nelson is Professor of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development at the University of Arizona. He is also Presidential Professor Emeritus of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah where, from 2008-2014, he served as founding Director of the Metropolitan Research Center, Adjunct Professor of Finance in the David Eccles School of Business, and founding Co-Director of the Master of Real Estate Development program.

Between 2002 and 2008, Dr. Nelson was founding Director of the Urban Affairs and Planning program at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria Center where he was also Co-Director (with Robert E. Lang) of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, and founder of the Planning Academy at Virginia Tech. From 1987 to 2002, he was Professor of City and Regional Planning in the College of Architecture and Professor of Public Policy in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and between 2000 and 2002 he was Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgia State University. With Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer he co-founded the nation’s only bi-university dual master of planning (Georgia Tech) and juris doctor (Georgia State) degree program. Dr. Nelson’s academic career started as visiting Assistant Professor of Regional and Community Planning at Kansas State University (1984-85) and then as Associate Professor of Urban and Public Affairs (now Planning and Urban Studies) at the University of New Orleans (1986-87) where he was Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Southern University New Orleans.

Dr. Nelson received his Bachelor of Science degree in political science with certificates in Urban Studies and Social Service at Portland State University in 1972. As a consultant in planning and fiscal analysis along the West Coast based in Portland, Oregon for a dozen years (1972-1984), he returned to Portland State where he received the Master of Urban Studies degree (1976) and later the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Studies specializing in regional science and regional planning in 1984.

Dr. Nelson has received numerous distinctions over his academic career. He is a member of College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), was commissioned Honorary Lieutenant Colonial by the Georgia Governor, received research, teaching and scholarship awards, and was advisor to students winning the AICP national student project of the year award. He has also served as editor of Housing Policy Debate[21], associate editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs, and Planners’ Notebook editor and associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association. He serves in other editorial capacities for several journals.


  • –present
    Professor of Planning and Real Estate, University of Arizona