Prof. Bonnie J. Johnson FAICP, PhD

Program Director and Associate Professor
Primary office:
Snow Hall
Room 207
University of Kansas
1460 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, Kansas


Bonnie J. Johnson, PhD, FAICP is Associate Professor in the University of Kansas’ Urban Planning Department. She teaches planning theory, land use, and politics, planning, and administration courses. Research interests include: civic bureaucracy, staff reports, television and citizen participation, planners working with city managers, and competitive elections. Before returning to school for her doctorate, Johnson was a practicing city planner for eight years. While at the City of Liberty, Missouri, she was project manager for Liberty’s award winning Blueprint for Liberty: Land Use Plan. The plan was awarded the American Planning Association’s “Outstanding Planning Award” for the best plan in the country.


Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kansas

M.U.P., Urban Planning, University of Kansas

M.A., Political Science, University of Kansas

B.A., Latin American Studies, University of Kansas

B.A., Political Science, University of Kansas


My approach to teaching and to the profession of city planning can be summed up with a quote from Tony Hiss about Baltimore’s Peabody Library reading room, of which he writes: “knowledge seems so abundantly available that you feel almost the same kind of gratitude you feel when you stoop to drink from a public fountain: The city doesn’t want me to go thirsty.” I want to instill in my students, who are future city planners, the commitment to caring about citizens and creating cities which provide for the needs of citizens as typified by the well-placed public drinking fountain. In my classes, I do not want my students “to go thirsty.”

Teaching Interests

  • City planning and politics
  • Sustainability
  • Land Use
  • Site Planning
  • History of planning
  • Theory of planning
  • Planning processes


My search for effective planning practices results in research projects drawing from my own experiences as a practicing planner and my educational background in the related fields of urban planning, political science, and public administration. All three fields seek to understand how elected officials, public servants, and citizens interact with each other, governmental structures, and bureaucratic agencies to pursue the common good. I am interested in the impact of institutions (elections, types of city government, organizations), culture (organizational cultures, professional cultures, social capital, and civic capital), and individuals (city planners, public administrators, elected officials, citizens) on public policy. This agenda results in research on civic bureaucracy, planning practice, media and planning, and public service.​

Research Interests

  • Civic bureaucracy
  • Planning practice
  • Media and planning
  • Public service
  • Codes of ethics
  • Professionalism

Selected Publications

Johnson, Bonnie J. 2017. “The Better Staff Report.” Periodicals (newsletter, magazine, etc.). Planning. Chicgo, IL: American Planning Association.
Johnson, Bonnie J., Mary Kay Peck FAICP, and Steve Preston FAICP. 2017. “City Managers Have Ethics Too? Comparing Planning and City Management Codes of Ethics.” Journal Articles. Journal of the American Planning Association 83 (2): 183–201.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Ward Lyles. 2016. “The Unexamined Staff Report: Results From an Evaluation of a National Sample.” Journal Articles. Journal of the American Planning Association 82 (1): 22–36.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Nils Gore. 2016. “What Do the Professions ‘Profess’? Comparing Architecture and Planning Codes of Ethics.” Journal Articles. Architectural Science Review 59 (6).
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Germaine Haleouga. 2015. “Can Social Media Save a Neighborhood Organization?” Journal Articles. Planning Practice & Research 30 (3): 248–69.
McClure, Kirk, and Bonnie J. Johnson. 2015. “Housing Programs Fail to Deliver on Neighborhood Quality, Reexamined.” Journal Articles. Housing Policy Debate 25 (3): 463–96.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2014. “Codes of Ethics, Public Values, and What Public Servants Offer the Bureaucratic Compact.” Journal Articles. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior 17 (4): 459–97.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Germaine Haleouga. 2014. “Potential and Challenges for Social Media in the Neighborhood Context.” Journal Articles. Journal of Urban Technology 21 (4): 51–75.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and John C. Pierce. 2014. “Is County Level of Social, Creative, and Human Capital Associated with Winning Humanities Grants in Kansas?” Journal Articles. Nonprofit Management & Leadership 24 (4): 503–20.
Johnson, Bonnie J., Holly T. Goerdel, Ncholar P. Lovrich, Jr., and John C. Pierce. 2013. “Social Capital and Emergency Management Planning: A Test of Community Context Effects on Formal and Informal Collaboration.” Journal Articles. American Review of Public Administration, September.
Pierce, John C., Bonnie J. Johnson, and Stacey S. White. 2013. “Social, Creative, Human, and Political Capital Effects on Sustainability Initiatives in Kansas Counties: A Research Note.” Journal Articles. Community Development 44 (2): 188–99.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2012. “TV, Boon or Bane? Participation and a Televised Town Meeting.” Journal Articles. Planning Theory & Practice 13 (2): 275–93.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2012. “Public Service Motivation and the Technical, Political, and Facilitator Roles of City Planners.” Journal Articles. International Journal of Public Administration 35 (1): 30–45.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2011. “Creating Civic Bureaucrats.” Journal Articles. International Public Management Journal 14 (2): 157–92.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Michael Graves Ph.D. 2011. “Keeping It Real: What Planning Can Learn from Reality TV.” Journal Articles. Journal of the American Planning Association 77 (3): 214–31.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Belinda D. Crum-Cano. 2011. “Glass Walls in Urban Planning: An Examination of Policy Type and Gender Segregation within a Profession.” Journal Articles. Review of Public Personnel Administration 31 (4): 386–409.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2010. “City Planners and Public Service Motivation.” Journal Articles. Planning Practice & Research 25 (5): 563–86.
Johnson, Bonnie J., and Stacey S. White. 2010. “Promoting Sustainability through Transportation Infrastructure? Innovation and Inertia in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.” Journal Articles. Journal of Urban Planning and Development 136 (4): 303–13.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2009. “Site Planning for Planners: The View from the Other Side.” Journal Articles. Journal for Education in the Built Environment 4 (1): 31–56.
Johnson, Bonnie J. 2005. “Identities of Competitive States in U.S. Presidential Elections: Electoral College Bias or Candidate-Centered Politics?” Journal Articles. Publius: The Journal of Federalism 35 (2): 337–55.

Other Activities

I am active in my neighborhood having been the Indian Hills Neighborhood Association Chair here in Lawrence.






Rome - The Piazza Del Popolo



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