Elijah Romulus

by Lia

MKI Affiliation:

MKI Instructor


Senior Comprehensive Planner


Old Colony Planning Council


A passion for social justice runs in Elijah Romulus’ family. His grandfather cared deeply about righting inequity which he passed to Elijah’s mother, herself a dedicated social worker and church community member. This dedication has defined how Elijah interacts with his own communities. For him, “to serve is a noble task. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but you do it for the betterment of the community.”

Born and raised in Brockton, MA, Elijah completed an undergraduate mechanical engineering degree before pivoting into urban planning during his time at the Tufts Urban and Environmental Planning (UEP) program. There, he had several great professors who spoke directly to systemic issues within the planning field. He now works as a Senior Environmental Planner at Old Colony Planning Council, which is a regional planning organization that serves Massachusetts’ 17 south shore communities. This work consists of municipal vulnerability planning, green communities planning, open space planning, and even housing.

During his time at Tufts UEP, Elijah discovered the lack of representation of people of color within the planning field, despite the profession working to serve majority black and brown communities. After graduating, he and other like-minded folks got together to build community in the field among planners of color as well as educate others about the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Once a small circle, the Planners of Color network (PoC) now has over 100 members on their list serve, as well as a monthly lunch and learn series and executive committee.

Elijah first heard about the Mel King Institute while still working as an engineer. He discovered a project and program management course through the Institute and knew about Mel King’s legacy, so he decided to take the training himself. Now as a seasoned urban planner, Elijah is partnering with the Mel King Institute to coordinate the City Planning in Place training series this year. The second training in a three-part series, Elijah’s class will focus on taking a historical lens to public policy and planning in America. Elijah’s goal is to show students how public policy and planning decisions from the 20th century have created situations that we see today: gentrification, policing measures, lack of affordable housing, and segregated communities, to name a few.

This training will work together with the other two trainings: first, Christian Brandt (a fellow Tufts UEP alum!) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council will provide an overview of the urban planning field, and after Elijah’s training Sarah Horsley and Rene Mardones will cover current issues in community planning as well as tools and case studies to address inequities in communities.

Elijah hopes to use the training content in the future to create a toolbox of materials to help educate folks about the importance of participating in planning processes and incorporating racial equity into the work. As part of this goal, community involvement is essential to seeing positive change within the community. If local residents are not part of planning processes, individuals will see their communities change before their eyes. Educating folks about how to participate and understand planning processes is a first step. Elijah takes a long-term perspective on using planning to improve communities: “Sometimes change is incremental, it may not be immediate, but it’s good to get involved in this type of work.”