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Maria Manta Conroy, PhD

  • Associate Professor and Interim Section Head, City and Regional Planning Section
200F Knowlton Hall

Maria Manta Conroy is an associate professor and Interim Section Head of the City and Regional Planning Section at the Knowlton School. She was on leave during the Autumn 2013 semester, and returned as CRP Graduate Studies Chair in Spring 2014. Dr. Conroy received a Bachelor of Science in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in systems engineering and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Conroy’s teaching and research interests have been focused on three main areas: planning for sustainable development, especially in smaller communities; enhancing participation processes and dispute resolution in the planning process; and planning around sensitive and protected lands, including water related resources.  She teaches courses on planning history, planning for sustainable development, social conflict, and contemporary planning research.

Dr. Conroy holds courtesy appointments in the Environmental Science Graduate Program and the Department of Geography.  She is an Associate Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA).  She serves as the faculty advisor for the City and Regional Planning Student Association.  Conroy also serves as a member of the City of Columbus Development Commission and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Sustainable Growth Working Group.

Recent Work

Planning Process Influences on Sustainability in Ohio Township Plans

Maria Conroy's interest in planning processes and sustainable development began with her dissertation work at UNC-Chapel Hill.  A paper from that effort was published in 2004 which examined high end plans and their associated planning processes.  She and OSU doctoral alum Hee-Jung Jun began to explore related issues for more “ordinary” types of communities.  They built a body of work addressing issues of sustainability and resilience, connected by planning processes for townships in both Ohio and Georgia. Their work highlights the critical influence of participant diversity in the planning process.

Selected Publications

Conroy, M. M. (2011). Influences on Public Participation in Watershed Planning. Journal of Planning Practice and Research 26(4), 467-479.


Conroy, M. M. (2006). Moving the middle ahead - Challenges and opportunities of sustainability in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26(1), 18-27.


Conroy, M. M., & Evans-Cowley, J. (2006). E-participation in planning: an analysis of cities adopting on-line citizen participation tools. Environment and Planning C-Government and Policy, 24(3), 371-384.


Conroy, M. M., & Berke, P. R. (2004). What makes a good sustainable development plan? An analysis of factors that influence principles of sustainable development. Environment and Planning A, 36(8), 1381-1396.


Conroy, M. M. (2003). The Process of Planning for Sustainable Development: Dimensions, Comparisons, and Insights. International Journal of Sustainable Development 6(4), 460-477.


Berke, P. R., & Conroy, M. M. (2000). Are we planning for sustainable development? An evaluation of 30 comprehensive plans. Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(1), 21-33.