Fall Urban Planning Course Descriptions
History and Theory of Planning
This course addresses the history of the planning profession in the United States with its intellectual evolution, while focusing on planning functions and planning roles. The course considers multiple rationales and alternative means of understanding and practicing planning. Particular attention is paid to the interplay of power and knowledge, ethics and social responsibility and issues of race, gender, class and identity.
Economics for Planners
Cities are run by city governments. These governments are providers of Infrastructure and goods themselves and they also regulate the provision of goods by private firms; they promote health and welfare through land use and environmental regulation; and they are charged with ensuring that political power and economic resources will be distributed equitably. Yet governments operate in societies where resource allocation is governed primarily by markets. Economics provides tools, frequently controversial to guide decisions about when and how government should be involved in providing or subsidizing services and in shaping market activity.
This is an introductory course designed to help prepare students for common analysis methods used in planning practice. It replaces Quantitative Techniques: Reasoning with Statistics (previously listed as PLA 4208). Common methods of analysis are covered using publicly available data sets and data collected through assignments. Through weekly readings, lectures and lab sessions students will gain a basic understanding of the tools and skills required in planning practice. For more in depth instruction on statistical methods students are encouraged to look into other courses on campus.
Presentations as Strategic Planning Tools
When planners stand up in front of a community group to present a neighborhood up-zoning proposal or architects speak to review boards about design schemes, if they want to see their initiatives realized they need to clearly communicate the merits of their visions. Public presentations provide powerful tools to focus attention and influence the outcome of planning and design processes. Strong presenters can transform even the most doubtful project stakeholder into a planning and design advocate. Conversely, great ideas, if poorly communicated, rarely get materialized. Today an ever-expanding array of tools exists to help planners and designers deliver their messages. Nonetheless, the ability to craft and deliver a strong presentation remains an elusive goal for many. This course approaches presentation as a strategic element of planning and design practice. It engages the presentation process critically as a means of argumentation, an education tool, and a form of public advocacy. By placing emphasis on effective integration of visual and verbal content, the seminar examines challenges associated with conveying complex planning and design ideas to non-professional audiences. Readings, discussion and hands-on presentation opportunities provide participants with concepts, analytic tools and practical techniques necessary for developing strong presentation skill sets.
Introduction to Housing
This course will address many of the housing issues that have vexed Planners and policy makers for decades. Examples of such questions include: Why is there a shortage of affordable housing? Should everyone be guaranteed a right to decent housing? When, if ever, should the government intervene in the provision of housing? This course will provide students with the analytical skills to address the questions listed above. In addition, students will learn to take advantage of the plethora of housing data available so as to be able to assess housing market conditions in a particular locality. With these skills students will be better prepared to formulate effective housing policies.
Sustainable Zoning & Land Use Regulation
Sustainable Zoning and Land Use Regulations introduces the basic techniques of land use control as practiced in the United States today with an emphasis on regulations that support green building practices and promote sustainable development patterns. Attention is given to the history, development and incidence of a variety of land use regulations, from the general (or comprehensive) plan to the advanced including growth management and recent sustainable zoning practices. Of interest to the student is a focus on the practical questions of what works, what doesn’t, and why? Guided by readings from a wide range of sources (including adopted and proposed sustainable ordinances), the course will be structured as both a seminar and lecture format incorporating the following: 1) General Land Use Regulations, 2) Sustainable Land Use Regulations, 3) Growth Management, 4) Residential Regulations / Development Fees, and 5) Regulation of Aesthetics.
Private Partnerships, Privatization, and the New City Government
The current budget deficits that local governments face have given new life to the call to “reinvent government.” Public/private partnerships and privatization raise questions both about the proper role of government on the one hand, and about who governs on the other. They also raise the practical question of how best to manage them, given that the criteria for “best” must involve not only considerations of financial costs but of also of access and control. The integration of private contractors and not-for-profit organizations into the government has reached such a level that managing them is now a requirement of the practice of urban planning. To some, the relationship between the government and its private partners has evolved to such a degree that it is no longer hierarchical but co-dependent, best viewed as the relationship between nodes in a network. The course will examine when public/private partnerships and privatization make sense as well as the structure of the new government and the tools available for its governance.
Planning for Disasters, Recovery, and Resilience
This course focuses on the physical, social, economic and policy aspects of natural and human-made disasters. Particular attention will be given to basic issues of land use and development, institutional policies and response, and the political economy of disasters. We will examine the causes and consequences of disasters and analyze the factors affecting recovery and resilience. The course will concentrate on planning in the United States, in the context of the increased urgency presented by climate change and fragmented government and private sector responses. Case studies will be drawn from around the U.S, together with selected comparisons from other countries. We will examine a variety of issues and tools, including disaster prevention and recovery programs, disaster planning as part of the redevelopment process, risk and vulnerability assessment, hazard mitigation, urban design and preservation, and community and local participation.
Local Economic Development Planning
Urban planning is charged with attending to the myriad dynamics that make places attractive for living, working, investing and visiting; and weighing the politically palatable, socially acceptable, and financially feasible dimensions of social actions. Economic development is an essential component of urban planning that is primarily concerned with the “economic” health of urban dwellers and urban spaces. Therefore, economic development focuses on questions of economic growth, capital investment, local competitiveness, in addition to poverty reduction, equitable opportunity structures, employment, wages human capital development and labor market practices. This seminar demands reflection on ways that assumptions about: the ‘public good,’ equitable development, ‘public’ and ‘private’ interests, social stratification, the market, racialization of space, costs and benefits, equality, and geographic scale (neighborhood, city, region, global) affect the ways LED planning and decision‐making are carried out. Do these assumptions influence the types of outcomes we accept as “Fair and Just”? Students should come away from this seminar ready to examine economic development dilemmas with both technical acumen and essential, yet under‐emphasized, critical thinking skills.
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
This course provides instruction in GIS techniques for land use analysis using ArcGIS. Students enrolled in the course use real world scenarios to learn the spatial visualization techniques necessary for effective communication in the planning field. The course is held in the School's GIS Laboratory, a computer facility dedicated to the instruction of computer applications.
Introduction to Environmental Planning
This course provides an introduction to the background and practice of environmental planning through a review of the history of urban environmental planning thought and an investigation into the impacts of urbanization at different scales. Students will also be introduced to the tools of environmental planning in order to evaluate issues in both developed and developing countries.
City as Assemblage
The purpose of this course is to explore how human and non-human realities are intertwined in the making, re-making, and un-making of cities. The focus is on the materiality of buildings, "natural" forms (e.g., wetlands, rivers), infrastructures (e.g., sewers, streets), plant and animal life, structures (e.g., billboards, cellphone towers), and people. The course's perspective is derived from actor-network theory and writings on assemblages, "vibrant matter," cyborg urbanism, infrastructure and development, and the metabolism of the city. The goal is to provide the student with an historical and holistic understanding of the evolution of cities that privileges assemblages of human things, objects, and nature. Explicitly rejected is that intervention involves autonomous and empowered humans who engage a passive urban materiality.
Sustainable Transit Policy
Sustainable cities require transportation systems that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. In the United States automobiles are used for the majority of personal travel. Many planners argue that auto-centric cities are unsustainable, and promote transit, bicycles and other modes as alternative ways of travel. Goods movement is dominated by trains and trucks, and these modes often compete with personal travel for road space and rail access. Making the overall transportation system more sustainable is complex, difficult and requires many trade-offs. This course explores the environmental, social and economic issues of sustainable transportation. Much of the class focuses on mass transit, which reflects the importance of transit in cities and the funding priorities of federal, state and local governments. Other topics covered include high speed rail, freight and shipping, local planning and the future of the automobile. Students will explore the incentives that shape our current system, new technologies that will influence transportation in the future and unintended consequences of well-meaning policies. Special concern for the equity effects of sustainable transportation is included.
NYC Land Use Approvals
The course will take a real-world approach in examining the various land use approval processes in New York City. Students will review the ULURP public review process, the Board of Standards and Appeals variance process, the Landmarks Preservation Commission procedures, and other elements of governmental approval processes. Students will attend public hearings, review past cases, and critically analyze what gets approved, what does not, and why. By following current and past development projects through these processes, students will get an understanding of the interplay between planning and politics.
Political Economy of Development Planning
Political economy can be described as the study of institutions and modes of governance. It attempts to capture different models of how society’s politics and economy are intertwined. It is also a discerning look at the language, models and actual history of social change. There are many ‘schools’ within the field of political economy attempting to describe issues such as the role of the state, the optimal path to development, and the most equitable forms of redistribution. These also comprise strong behavioral and institutional assumptions about locality and nationality and how to run urban and other development projects. This course is essential for the international development planning specialization. It provides skills to analyze any development approach, and an understanding of the limitations and opportunities in project planning.
“Civic” – (adj) of, or pertaining to a city, citizens, citizenship; e.g. civic engagement
“Hacking” – (v) activity done by “hackers,” usually meaning computer related, but generalized to people who reuse, repurpose or bend processes, tools, etc to be used for other means; e.g. hacking the system
Technology is changing how people interact with the environment and how we understand the environment itself. Social Media, cell phones, social networking, crowdsourcing, apps, and other Web tools all provide a window into how people move, interact, feel, and even seen spaces. These tools, plus the Open Data Movement, have started to bridge the worlds of civic engagement and technology with cities and city agencies hosting “hackathons” and “app competitions.” Fundamentally technology of this type changes the relationship between citizen and city, reinvigorating conversations about power, access and democracy.
Civic Hacking is not necessarily contained to the digital realm. New resources and information available online are providing citizens tools for better understanding how the city works. With the information, data, and tools to empower and organize themselves, citizens are creating non-digital hacks on the city such as temporary uses for vacant lots, protest weddings, and urban farms.
As future planners, architects, urban designers, you will be part of bringing together the world of technology with urban spaces and designing new tools for community participation in the planning process. With your communities as your users, we will focus on using the Human-Centered Design (HCD) process in developing our ideas for these new tools.
This workshop class evolved from the Crowd Sourced City Class (FA10, FA11) and will explore the tools available for civic hacking in real life applications and focus on using the human-centered design process to change the future of participatory planning.
Introduction to Transportation Planning
This course provides an introduction and overview of transportation modes, the characteristics of travel, transportation planning policies and procedures and their affect on the location, development, quality of life and economic development of urban places and their surrounding metropolitan areas. The trip generating characteristics of various land uses will be discussed including their quantity, type, temporal differences and how they are accommodated by the various modes. The component analyses, techniques and methodologies such as : trip generation, modal splits, traffic assignments, volume/capacity concepts and parking standards will be presented with their local, regional, national and international examples.
Community Development Planning
The objective of this course is to prepare students to develop strategies for urban revitalization by reviewing theories of neighborhood change and diagnosing neighborhood trends relevant to community development. In addition, this material is addressed in History and Theory of Planning, Planning Law, and Redevelopment Policy among other courses.
Urban Planning Studio: Brooklyn Connect
Downtown Brooklyn sits at the epicenter of a series of established, ongoing and new urban redevelopment initiatives. However, most of these nodes of activity are not connected in a coherent manner so as to encourage pedestrian linkages and pathways. Together with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Brooklyn Connect studio will endeavor to create a cohesive strategic plan aimed at connecting these otherwise disparate focal points.
The goal of the studio is to identify the need for, components of and opportunities with pedestrian linkages between and among several key points:
· Brooklyn Bridge Park
· DUMBO (along with Brooklyn Navy Yard, a component of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle)
· Brooklyn Navy Yard (along with DUMBO, a component of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle)
· Fort Greene Park
· Barclays Center
Leaders of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership will be the client, providing information and resources and expecting a well-written and designed report identifying opportunities and implementation recommendations. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership coordinates the unprecedented growth occurring in Brooklyn, while three business improvement districts - MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID - provide the essential services that enhance the City's third largest commercial district.
Urban Planning Studio: Chile
This Planning Studio course will contribute to the efforts that the Municipality of Talca, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD), and the Center for Urban Territorial Studies in the Maule Region, Chile (central area) have made to develop reconstruction plans and projects for the Maule region in general and for the city of Talca in particular. This studio project will be conducted in collaboration with these entities and will have as our client the Municipality of Talca. The course will evaluate the plans and projects proposed for the reconstruction of the central area of Talca and propose alternatives for its future. More specifically, the studio project will focus on analyzing the challenges and opportunities of different land use alternatives for the development of an inclusive and affordable mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood in the central urban area of Talca. One new land use strategy we will consider is that of integral land readjustment (consisting of organized landowners acting collectively—in cooperation with a municipality and/or private developer—to pool their land in order to accomplish a redevelopment project).
A six-credit two-semester thesis is an essential part of the planning curriculum. It is an individual study or investigation of the student's own choice, but it is closely supervised by a full-time faculty member of the Urban Planning Program. The thesis demonstrates the student's ability to structure an argument surrounding an issue or problem significant to planning practice, planning theory, and/or the profession itself.
Advanced Research / Independent Study
Each semester, there is the possibility of registering for “Advanced Research” within the Urban Planning Program. This is what you may know as “Independent Study”. The student plans a course of self-study and inquiry, and seeks an advisor who will review and grade the work. If you wish to register for Advanced Research, students must submit to the UP office a one-page description of the project, including methodology, goals, and final product, as well as the advisor’s name and the number of credits before the end of the add-drop period. Advanced Research may be for 2 or 3 credits, depending on the scope of the work, and this should be determined at the time of application for the Advanced Research. Indicate who the faculty advisor will be – and discuss your interest in working with that faculty member to gain their approval. Although students will do the research on their own, the advisor will review the final work against the description and goals of the proposal and provide a grade to Lance Freeman as the central on-line grader. Faculty do not receive any additional financial compensation for their work as an advisor to an Advanced Research project. Students may not use paid employment within or outside the University as a basis for an Advanced Research project. An e-mail note to the UP Office from the faculty advisor is requested before the end of the add/drop period indicating that the faculty member is advising a student in an Advanced Research project, and approving the proposal submitted by the student. Advanced Research may involve library research, lab work, fieldwork, or other research methods, and the final product could be a paper, or digital design, or map, or something else alternative to a standard paper. - whatever the student and advisor agree is the best format for illuminating the results of the research.
The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the concepts, techniques and reasoning skills necessary to understand and undertake quantitative research. By the end of the semester students will be able to:
· Design a quantitative research proposal
· Conceptualize a quantitative statistical model
· Estimate a quantitative statistical model
· Interpret the results of descriptive analyses, t-tests, chi-square and multivariate regression analyses.
· Students will learn and hone their skills through a combination of attending weekly class meetings, participating in weekly labs, completing written assignments and writing a research paper that tests a hypothesis using quantitative techniques.