Meghan Gough

Meghan Gough

Associate Professor, Chair - Urban and Regional Planning/Studies

Scherer Hall, Room 517 Phone: (804) 827-0869 Email:


  • Plan-making
  • Civic engagement and collective impact
  • Sustainable communities


B.S., Biology, James Madison University, 1997
M.U.R.P, Urban and Regional Planning, Virginia Tech, 2003
Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, Ohio State University, 2008


Community involvement, planning processes, sustainable development

Research interests

Meghan Gough, associate professor and chair, teaches applied courses in community planning, civic engagement and sustainability planning in the Urban and Regional Studies and Planning Program. Her research is focused on the role of community partnerships and collaborative decision-making in planning for sustainable communities. She has particular interest in how diverse stakeholders inform sustainability planning approaches, and ways that cross-sector partnerships bring the public, private and philanthropic interests to the table to achieve meaningful outcomes for communities.

Gough’s current projects include a book project, titled "Public Gardens and Community Revitalization: Partnerships for Positive Social Change" (Cornell University Press), which analyzes ways in which municipalities, nonprofits and private sector organizations partner with public gardens to revitalize communities and increase the livability of urban places and spaces. She is also examining the public engagement process and outcomes of the U.S. Department of Housing and. Urban Development Sustainable Communities Initiative, which funded 74 multi-year regional sustainability planning processes across the U.S. In addition, Gough is working on a more recent project, funded through VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, to investigate the livability of communities for aging populations the implications for planning.

In addition to her faculty and administrative role in the Wilder School, Gough serves on VCU’s Council of Community Engagement. In this capacity, she contributes to initiatives that build long-term community-university partnerships and advance coordinated interdisciplinary research opportunities with community partners. She also advises on the proliferation of Community-Engaged Research methods for scholars and implementation within the University community.

Selected publications

The Complementarity of Livability and Sustainability: Comprehensive planning in the Mississippi Gulf Coast.Journal of Planning Education and Research(2015), 35(2).

Public Garden as Sustainable Community Development Partners: Motivations, perceived benefits and challenges. Urban Affairs Revie(2013), 49(6). With John Accordino.

Do New Urbanist Comprehensive Plans Promote New Urbanism?(2009), Journal of Urban Design, 14(4). With Evans-Cowley, J.

Effective Citizen Engagement in Post-Katrina Planning. Cityscape (2008). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Evaluating Environmental Protection in Post-Katrina Plans in Mississippi. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management51(3) (2008). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Is Hazard Mitigation Being Incorporated into Post-Katrina Plans in Mississippi?International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Hazards, 25(3) (2007). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Land Use Planning and Zoning in Ohio Townships. Journal of Extension44 (4) (2006). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Growth Counties: Home to America’s New Suburban Metropolis. In A. Berube, B. Katz, and R. Lang (Eds.), Redefining Urban and Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000, Volume III (2005)Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Research. With Robert E. Lang.

Keys to the New Metropolis: America’s Big, Fast-Growing Suburban Counties. Journal of the American Planning Association, 71 (4) (2005). With Robert E. Lang and Edward J. Blakely.

Is Home Rule the Answer? Clarifying the Influence of Dillon’s Rule on Growth Management. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Research (2003). With Jesse J. Richardson and Robert Puentes.

Papers and reports:
Transforming Top Down to Bottom Up Planning in Post-Katrina Mississippi.Progressive Planning Magazine (2007). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Land Use Planning in Ohio Counties: Survey Result Highlights. The Ohio County Commissioners Association of Ohio Magazine, Issue 1 (2005). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Land Use Planning in Ohio Townships. The Ohio Planner’s News (Jul/Aug 2004). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Land Use Planning in Ohio Townships: Survey Result Highlights. The Ohio Township News (May/Jun2004). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Township Survey: Current Updates. The Ohio Township News (Jan/Feb 2004). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

New Metropolis Counties: Suburbs of Suburbs. Census Note 02:05. Washington, D.C.: Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech (2004). With Robert E. Lang.

Township Survey: Preliminary Results. The Ohio Township News (Nov/Dec 2003). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

Planning after Hurricane Katrina: How Comprehensive are the Plans to Rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Presented at the 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (October 19, 2007). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

The Power of Smart Growth to Create Disaster Resistant Communities. Presented at the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association, Hattiesburg, Mississippi (October 26, 2006). With Patrick Bonck.

Collaborative Governance in Land Use Management: Assessing Intergovernmental Cooperation in Ohio. Presented at the 46th Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Kansas City, Missouri (October 27, 2005). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

How Do Rural Local Governments Manage Land Use Change in Ohio? Presented to students from the University of Guelph, Ontario at Ohio State University (June 6, 2005).

Rural Land Use Management: Zoning Adoption, Implementation, and Management in Ohio Townships. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Portland, Oregon (October 22, 2004). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.

An Analysis of Local Land Use Decisions in Ohio Townships. Paper presented for the roundtable of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, Ohio State University (October 8, 2004). With Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley.