Mary M. Edwards, FAICP

Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Associate Dean, College of Fine and Applied Arts

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1997

Room M204 Temple Buell Hall 611 Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign IL 61820

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 217.333.3211

Mary Edwards teaches courses in state and local public finance, health and planning and professional planning practice. Her research contributions advance both planning scholarship and practice surrounding issues of growth and change, including annexation and the fiscal impacts of development. More recent research and teaching interests explore the evolving role of health considerations in land use planning. In her course, Planning for Healthy Cities, she highlights historical and current theories on the relationship between public health and the built environment, as well as prescriptions for healthy urban policy and design. Her most recent research project employs a case study approach that focuses on six mid-size Midwestern communities (in both Illinois and Wisconsin) grappling with how best to support local aging populations. The research asks "what community-controlled factors most support the local population's ability to safely and successfully age in place?" Research findings will inform recommendations which will help communities modify their physical and policy environments and increase their support for those who want to age in place. Professor Edwards received a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a specialization in fiscal planning and a minor in public policy analysis. She also holds a Master's degree in economics with a specialization in public sector economics and a Master's degree in urban planning and policy. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Ongoing Research Projects

Primary research interests are in the areas of land use planning and policy, the links between health and the built environment, state and local finance and intergovernmental relations, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of various development patterns and the broad effects of growth on communities.

Selected Publications

Wilson, B and MM Edwards, 2014. Annexation and Ethnicity in the American Midwest, Urban Affairs Review, 50, 3: 417-447.

Edwards, Mary M. and Lisa K. Bates. 2011. Planning’s Core Curriculum: Knowledge, Practice and Implementation. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 31(2): 172-183.

Edwards, Mary M. 2011. "Municipal Annexation: Does State Policy Matter?" Land Use Policy, 28 (1): 325-333.

Edwards Mary M. and Jack R. Huddleston. 2010. "Prospects and Perils of Fiscal Impact Analysis." Journal of the American Planning Association 76 (1): 25-41.

Jepson, Jr., Edward and Mary M. Edwards. 2010. "How Possible is Sustainable Development? An Analysis of Planners’ Perceptions About New Urbanism, Smart Growth and Ecological City." Planning, Practice and Research, 25 (4): 417-437.

Edwards, Mary M. and Yu Xiao. 2009. "Annexation, Local Government Spending and the Complicating Role of Density." Urban Affairs Review 45 (2): 147-165.

Edwards, Mary M. 2008. "Understanding the Complexities of Annexation." Journal of Planning Literature 23(2): 119-135.

Edwards, Mary M. 2007. "Public Finance in Planning Education and Practice." Journal of Planning Education and Research 27 (2): 217-27.

Edwards, Mary M., and A Haines. 2007. "Evaluating Smart Growth: Implications for Small Communities." Journal of Planning Education and Research 27 (1): 49-64.

Edwards, Mary M. and Laura Lawson. 2005. "The Evolution of Planning in East St. Louis." Journal of Planning History 4(4): 356-382.

Edwards, Mary. 2001. "Fiscal Impact Analysis: Does Method Matter?" Journal of the Community Development Society 32, 1.

Edwards, Mary and Douglas Jackson-Smith. 2001. "The Cost of Community Services in Three Wisconsin Communities." Journal of the Community Development Society 32, 2.

Edwards, Mary M. 2000. "Annexation: A Winner Take All Process?" State and Local Government Review 31, 3: 221-231.

Teaching and Advising


  • UP201, Planning in Action
  • UP203, Cities, Planning and Urban Life
  • UP407, State and Local Public Finance
  • UP340, Planning for Healthy Cities

Current advising

  • Sofia Sianis, Dissertation Advisor

Previous advising

  • Teresa Anderson, 2018  Derby Street Corridor Plan and Revitalization Study, City of Pekin
  • Michael Fitz, 2017, Save the Farms! Green Garden Township Comprehensive Plan
  • Rachael Wilson, 2017, Healthy Neighborhood Revitalization in Peoria, Illinois
  • Francesca Sallinger, 2017, Mercer County Better Together: Community Based Planning for Economic Development
  • Cara Riordan, 2017, The New West Side: A Neighborhood Assessment of the Hudson Yards
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