Marcia Marker Feld

June 16, 1935–March 16, 2024

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Marcia Marker Feld until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of Marcia Marker Feld courtesy of the Feld family.

The first woman to earn a PhD in urban planning from Harvard University, Marcia Marker Feld dedicated her career to teaching the next generation of urban planners to base their work on the needs and desires of a community instead of imposing their own visions on neighborhoods. Feld graduated from Brooklyn College in 1956 and went on to get a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania before earning a PhD in city planning from Harvard University in 1973. After earning her PhD, Feld began teaching at the University of Rhode Island, where she served as chair of the Graduate Department of Community Planning and executive director of the URI Urban Field Center, which offered students opportunities for both community service and applied research. From 1972 to 1975 she ran the Metropolitan Planning Project, helping desegregate Boston schools. In 1995 she spent a year with the Department of Housing and Urban Development as the founding director of the Office of University Partnerships, which runs the Community Outreach Partnership Center, an innovative program that encourages collaboration between universities, community groups, and municipalities to find shared solutions to urban problems. Aware of the struggle women faced as pioneers in any field, Feld made mentorship programs a lifelong commitment, creating networks of women in urban planning to strengthen their chances of success. She continued to teach at the University of Rhode Island until her retirement in 2008, when she was named emerita. The following year, the university created a lecture series in her honor.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Marcia Marker Feld." (Viewed on April 13, 2024) <>.