Curriculum Vitae

  • Director, Metropolitan Research Center, City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah
  • Co-Director, Master of Real Estate Development Program, David Eccles School of Business & College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah
  • Professor Emeritus, City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah



  • Ph.D 1984, Urban Studies with focus in Regional Science & Planning Planning, Portland State University. Project: Using Land Markets to Evaluate Urban Containment Programs

Honors & Awards

  • Scholar of the Year in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Virginia Tech, 05/2004
  • Teacher of the Year, College of Architecture. Georgia Tech, 05/2000
  • Adviser to students winning the annual student project of the year award given by the American Institute of Certified Planners. Georgia Tech, 04/1996
  • Professional Educator of the Year, College of Architecture. Georgia Tech, 05/1993
  • University Young Researcher of the Year. University of New Orleans, 05/1986
  • Teacher of the Year, Department of Regional & Community Planning. Kansas State University, 05/1985


Dr. Arthur C. Nelson, FAICP, is Presidential Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah where he is also Director of the Metropolitan Research Center, Adjunct Professor of Finance, and Co-Director of the Master of Real Estate Development Program.

Dr. Nelson has conducted pioneering research in public finance, development policy, smart growth, economic development, and metropolitan development patterns. He has written more than 20 books, 100 refereed articles, and 300 other works.

Numerous organizations have sponsored Dr. Nelson’s research such as the National Science Foundation; National Academy of Sciences; U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, and Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; Ford Foundation; American Planning Association; National Association of Realtors; Urban Land Institute; and The Brookings Institution.

Prior to academia, Dr. Nelson managed his own West Coast consultancy in planning and management. In 2000, his professional planning, education, and research accomplishments were recognized with election to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners. During 2000-01, he served HUD as an expert on smart growth for the Clinton and Bush Administrations. In this capacity, he helped expand HUD’s university scholarship programs and create HUD’s doctoral fellowship program focusing in urban economics.

Dr. Nelson serves in various editorial capacities for the Journal of the American Planning Association (currently Associate Editor and formerly Book Review and Planners' Notebook editor), Housing Policy Debate (past editor), Journal of Urban Affairs (formerly Associate Editor), Journal of Planning Education and Research, and the Journal of Planning Literature among others.

Dr. Nelson has earned scholar of the year honors in Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, teacher of the year and professional educator of the year honors in Architecture at Georgia Tech, and young researcher of the year honors at the University of New Orleans.  His students have won numerous awards including the National Student Project of the Year award given by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Dr. Nelson's books have shaped the fields of infrastructure finance, smart growth, and land use planning. His writings have won national awards and international distinction including the Paul Davidoff Award given by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning for his contribution to The Geography of Opportunity edited by Xavier de Sousa Briggs, citation by the Public Affairs Information Service for having one of the world's top-100 articles in the social sciences from among more than 15,000 published, and recognition by the American Planning Association for having published one of its most important books during its first 25 years.

Dr. Nelson’s current work focuses on how demographic economic forces along with shifts in housing preference will reshape America’s metropolitan areas for the rest of this century.

Dr. Nelson's teaching, research and publishing areas include:
     Metropolitan development policy and patterns
     Smart growth

     Public facility planning and finance
     Real estate development
     Metropolitan governance
     Urban infill and redevelopment methods


  • Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Member, 01/01/2013 - present
  • Fellow, American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP), the "Hall of Fame" in the planning profession, 04/2000 - present
  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Certified Member, 08/1978 - present
  • American Planning Association (APA), Member, 07/1978 - present
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI), Member, 06/1976 - present

In the Media

  • According to search engines, there are up to one-half million Internet links relating to Dr. Nelson's speeches, interviews, publications, and other works. 06/2013.
  • Sampling of "The New California Dream" of more than 15,000 Internet links: . 06/2013.
  • Sampling of "Senior Sell-off" of more than 42,500 Internet links: 06/2013.
  • Sampling of "Reshaping America" of more than 400,000 Internet links: 06/2013.
  • Sampling of "Megapolitan" of more than 280,000 Internet links: 06/2013.
  • Dr. Nelson has appeared on CBS Evening News and has been interviewed by dozens of television and radio organizations. One of his television presentations was a regional finalist for an Emmi Award. 01/2000.
  • Dr. Nelson's work is frequently on the front page of USA Today and has appeared on the front page of Wall Street Journal among numerous regional and local newspapers. His work has been cited in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times among others. 01/1992.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Northern America. Dr. Nelson engages in comparative regional development regimes that include the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Lt. Colonel, Georgia Militia

Dr. Nelson received an honorary commission as Lt. Colonel in the Georgia militia from Governor Joe Frank Harris for service to the state.