Mary Rocco headshot

Mary Rocco

Director of Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement and Inclusion


Urban Studies


Community Engagement and Inclusion Office, Milbank 010


Mary Rocco previously served as term assistant professor at Barnard College- Columbia University in the Urban Studies program from 2017-2022. Her major fields of study include city planning, urban revitalization and community development with specializations in the roles of philanthropic foundations, community economic development and shrinking cities. As a faculty member, Dr. Rocco co-led the preparation, launch and programming of the Undesign the Redline @Barnard project and exhibition. As an inaugural recipient of the Barnard Engages- New York award, she works with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) and the South Bronx Coalition to complete a Bronx-wide community plan for economic development. Through this project she launched the Community Planning Lab, a summer student research fellowship program to provide data support for the coalition in their outreach and planning activities. Working with students, Dr. Rocco completed a study of mutual aid activities occurring in NYC neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide much needed care and resources to vulnerable residents.   Prior to joining Barnard’s faculty, Dr. Rocco worked with the Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR) and participated in the preparatory process for the United Nations Habitat III conference on sustainable urban development and human settlements in Quito, Ecuador (2016). She was also a Visiting Scholar at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Previously, Rocco worked with the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught classes in city planning, urban research and professional development at the University of Pennsylvania and Hunter College- City University of New York.

  • Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania
  • M.U.P, Urban Planning, Hunter College- CUNY
  • B.A, Urban Studies, Hunter College-CUNY

  • City planning
  • Neighborhood and urban revitalization
  • Community and economic development
  • Philanthropy
  • Community wealth-building


  • URBS- UN  3545 Junior Seminar - Community Planning in New York 

In The News

Barnard and Columbia community members team up in a “sweeping” effort and send a message of unity and collaboration.

September 20, 2023

The exhibition that addresses housing segregation and race has inspired community organizers and advocates, teachers and students, and even policymakers such as New York State Senator Cordell Cleare.

December 16, 2022

On campus, an exhibition examines the history of racist housing policies that led to widespread segregation in New York City and across the U.S.

November 8, 2021

Read about the latest grants earned by Barnard faculty and staff to support their research.

November 25, 2020