The original idea for Carolina Planning was developed by Nancy Grden, Jim Miller, and Lee Corum, three UNC planning graduate students, in 1974. Modeled after the tradition of student-edited law reviews, the trio secured a two year grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to fund the concept, seeing the effort as crucial to the professional and academic development of the planning field. Then-Chairman of the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) George Hemmens was a strong proponent of the concept from the early days. Grden, who served as the journal’s first editor, laid out the objectives of the publication from the outset, which have remained remarkably consistent over the years:
1) To provide a forum for the discussion of planning problems, issues, and techniques related to the practice of planning in North Carolina;
2) To enhance the awareness public officials have about planning in North Carolina and elsewhere; and
3) To provide for the improvement of exchange of planning information between the Department of City and Regional Planning and other governmental and academic institutions in the state and nation.
Ongoing support from DCRP and the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAPA) can be credited with sustaining Carolina Planning through lean budget years when many other student planning publications around the country folded. Professor David Godschalk served as faculty advisor from 1975 until his retirement in 2004 and acted as a crucial bridge between each year’s student editorial staff. DCRP provides editorial assistantships from the John A. Parker Trust, a fund created by alumni and friends of the department in honor of DCRP’s founder and first chairman. NCAPA pays for a group subscription for planning departments across North Carolina, which provides for the yearly printing budget.