Spring Urban Planning Course Descriptions
Fundamentals of Urban Digital Design
A maturing internet continuously compiles amounts of data volumes above what can be analyzed in the words and numbers preferred by the brain's left hemisphere. It is the right side of the brain where the artistic skills to interpret and to communicate this data visually are found, and increasingly diversified specialists must possess technical skills to render their information understandable to all. This course teaches digital methods of creating visual information, and is designed to build those skills fundamental to understanding and communicating projects from the scale of the building to that of the city. Classes will observe and discuss techniques of effective visual communication and teach the methods and details of realizing such work using the computer.
Negotiations for Planners
This course introduces students to the art of negotiations. Planners spend much of their time negotiating; yet generally devote little time thinking about how to negotiate. They tend to focus only on the outcomes achieved in bargaining, and fail to explore how the processes or tactics on which they relied could have been varied to attain even better results. Our goal is to explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of negotiations. In this seminar, we shall review the literature dealing with negotiating, engage in negotiations in a variety of settings and study the negotiating process.
Physical Structure of Cities
A lecture course focused on the historic emergence of contemporary practice of urban planning. Beginning with the birth of the industrial city in the 19th century, the course takes its subject matter from early planning attempts such as tenement house regulation and garden cities up to contemporary concerns with postmodernism, new urbanism, and sustainable development. The course focuses principally upon the American experience but also draws from Western Europe.
Transportation and Land Use Planning
Urban sprawl, smart growth, traffic congestion and green cities are ideas that share a common policy linkage: integrated transportation and land use planning. This course is an overview of land use and transportation policy and planning drawing primarily on the United States experience with autos and transit. By introducing principles of urban planning, civil engineering, economics and public policy, students will learn about how to use planning tools, polices and other infrastructure investments to help develop effective places and networks. By the end of this course students will be able to think critically about the transportation and land use implications of accessibility, environmental and urban design policies. In addition, students will understand the mutually reinforcing incentives of transportation and land use systems at local, regional and national scales.
Urban Design for Planners
This course is an introduction to urban design through weekly discussions and design workshops. The discussions focus on the history, theory, and analysis of urban forms, spaces, landscapes, and systems through presentations and case studies. The workshops develop a project-based exchange and application of the interdisciplinary ideas and techniques – from art and architecture to landscape architecture and environmental engineering – that designers use in developing projects in the urban context. This work will use a site in New York City as a context for exploring the complex interactions between users, program, buildings, public spaces, infrastructure, and environmental systems in the definition and performance of urban spaces and landscapes.
Sustainable Urban Development: International Perspectives
The course focuses on understanding planning and policy oriented work on cities and urban development. It explores the relationship between urban development, modernity, and cultural politics, especially in South and Southeast Asia. The course includes international perspectives on sustainable urban development and the cultural and historical understanding of cities, urban development, and politics.
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.
Public Financing of Urban Development
Public Financing of Urban Development will be an introduction to how public entities (cities, states, public benefit corporations) finance urban development by issuing public securities. We will start with an examination of how public entities leverage limited capital resources through the issuance of debt, including a review of statutory and political considerations as well as limitations put on such debt. We will explore the limitations of tax exempt financing and the kinds of development that can qualify for such financing. By examining different kinds of development financing, including mass transit, health care facilities, schools, public utilities, airports and housing, the class will see the major forms of tax exempt financing that are available. The class will also delve into rating agency requirements, security disclosure rules, market dynamics and the mechanics of offering bonds for public sale.
Processes of neighborhood-level change frame much planning theory, practice and policymaking. In this course we will: examine the meaning of neighborhoods– as social geographies, economic enclaves, sites of political action, symbolic spaces, and embedded localities; explore the potential and limits of localities for shaping local conditions; examine how public policies, institutional practices and spatial perceptions that, directly and indirectly, inform neighborhood effects; and analyze the consequences of change (or stagnation) for social groups, neighborhoods and cities. This course draws on extant debates that intersect with broader questions of “place-making” such as ethno-racial stratification, immigration, economic opportunity, urban redevelopment, gentrification, civic engagement and community planning. The three primary objectives of this course are: (1) to develop a common conceptual framework and language for discussing issues related to how and why neighborhoods change; (2) to sharpen the analytic and technical tools for conducting neighborhood-level research; and (3) to learn how to apply conceptual tools and research techniques when analyzing the intended and inadvertent effects of place-based public policies, institutional practices and planning decisions.
Planning for Climate Change in Urban Ecosystems
This course will provide background to debates on urban planning for climate change. The questions the course will address include: What is an urban ecosystem? How do we analyze the opportunities and challenges to climate change for urban ecosystems? What are the GHG emission concentrations and sources from urban ecosystems? What are the GHG sinks within urban ecosystems? What are some effective mitigation strategies to reduce GHG emissions from urban ecosystems? How can urban ecosystems adapt to climate change? The course is divided into 4 sections: Introduction to the issues, urban ecosystem analyses: Urban areas as sources and sinks for GHGs; Mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Environmental Impact Assessment
This course will explore the key procedural elements of NEPA, SEQRA, and CEQR; the key analytic techniques used in impact assessment; and investigate how application of environmental impact assessment affects project outcome. Lectures will introduce students to the statutory requirements of the laws, important judicial decisions interpreting the laws, and standard methodologies for conducting environmental assessments. Case studies will be used to illustrate the effect of the environmental impact assessment on design and implementation of projects or governmental actions. Practical assignments will give students an introduction to the state of practice and the range of analytic techniques used in environmental impact assessment.
Land Use Planning
This course presents the nuts and bolts of land use planning as practiced in the US today and gives you the opportunity to develop/design a land use plan for a small hypothetical city. Through lectures and readings you will be exposed to contemporary land use planning issues (including urbanization and urban growth trends, ethics, quality of life indicators, ecological land use planning, and inner city revitalization).
Techniques of Project Evaluation
The course has two parts: cost benefit analysis and economic development. Cost benefit analysis deals with the taxpayer as a consumer while economic development, which is fast emerging as an important function of government, deals with the taxpayer as a worker in need of employment and with businesses as a source of tax revenues.
This research seminar is meant to advance students' knowledge of tools available for spatial analysis. At the same time the course will to teach students how to develop unique research questions and develop a Methodology for answering those questions. A key goal for the course is to teach students how to develop quantitative research methods.
Urban Redevelopment Policy
The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with the processes by which governments, private investors, and residents transform the uses, social composition, physical appearance, and market value of previously-developed, urban sites. We will focus on the history, rationales, financing, implementation, and social impacts of these initiatives. To begin, we will review the history of government-subsidized redevelopment and explore the types of government incentives (e.g., tax abatements) available to developers. We will also delve into the key actors and the politics of redevelopment and investigate large, high-density, mixed-use (HDMU) projects in New York City and elsewhere. In addition, the course will explore the current policy concern with distressed neighborhoods in such shrinking cities such as Flint (MI), Detroit, and Philadelphia.
Real Estate Finance and Development
The course is intended for planners and others in GSAPP who are interested in real estate development and financing, but who need an introductory explanation of concepts and valuation techniques. Topics within the course include: Introduction to Real Estate Markets and Cycles; Real Estate Cash Flows and Valuations; Financing Income-Producing Real Estate Properties Financing Real Estate Development – construction Liquidity Risk and the benefits of Diversification Important Entities in the Real Estate Industry Evaluating the Financial Performance and Strength of Real Estate Entities Important Real Estate transactions.
Advanced Planning Theory (PhD Only)
(Theory - Spring 2012 History - Spring 2013) Each doctoral student is required to complete successfully a minimum of three courses in the history and theory of planning. Two of the three courses (PLA 8930 and PLA 8931) are advanced seminars in history and theory. Among the topics covered are the genesis and structure of planning thought and methods; economic, political, and social factors influencing the development of planning theories and policies; the theory and development of urban structures; theories of the state; and the history of cities and regions.
A tactical planning course where students work on actual planning projects in New York neighborhoods, or in cities abroad. Under the supervision of faculty members, studio participants collaboratively develop planning solutions to real situations confronted by communities or public service organizations with limited technical assistance resources. Policy analysis and policy planning are also performed for government agencies at the city and state level (includes fieldwork, team consultation and seminars.) The entire planning process is covered, from data collection to client presentation.
The second semester of 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 (September 16, 2011 this fall semester). 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 Trisha Logan 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.