Don Poland


He was awarded the Connecticut Homebuilders 2003 Outstanding Land Use Official Award and is a 2004 alumnus of the Hartford Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty award. Don enjoys European travel, is a licensed private pilot, resides in Hartford, Connecticut and spends his down time at his second home in Millinocket, Maine.

Don Poland

Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Planning & Strategy

Dr. Poland is a geographer, planner, and community strategist whose work focuses on assisting communities compete for wealth and investment through strategic market, land use, and planning interventions that build community confidence, foster pride in place, create governance capacity, and grow market demand. With over twenty years’ experience in the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors, he offers a unique approach to addressing the social, economic, spatial, governance, and policy challenges of creating and maintaining healthy, vibrant, and prosperous communities.

Dr. Poland’s consultancy, while covering a wide range of planning activities and providing extensive services, focuses mostly on smaller cities and weak-market communities that struggle to compete for wealth, investment, vibrancy, and prosperity. Dr. Poland specializes in creating strategic and scaled interventions designed to (re)position communities to compete for wealth and investment. His consultancy work and clients have included post-Katrina planning, land use, and redevelopment strategies for St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, an economic investment strategy for the City of Oswego, New York, the preparation of a HUD NSP-2 application for Venango County, Pennsylvania, and the creation of an innovative zoning approach to implement the comprehensive plan in Canton, Ohio.

Dr. Poland is accepted as an expert witness in the areas of land use planning, neighborhood redevelopment, and community development in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana—the cases involved zoning and disparate impacts. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a Certified Zoning Enforcement Official, Past-President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and a fellow with the Connecticut Policy Institute.

Internationally trained, Dr. Poland earned his PhD from University College London (UCL), Department of Geography, Cities and Urbanization program. His doctoral research focused on urban ecology, ecological resilience, and how ecological metaphors and theory can help us understand urban environments as complex adaptive systems.

Dr. Poland is Visiting Lecturer in Public Policy, Graduate Studies Program at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He also lectures in geography and urban planning at the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University. His research interests include the remaking of (sub)urban space, urban and suburban histories, urban ecology, complexity theory, and creativity and innovation.