Courses In: Cities

Labor Movement Politics, Advocacy & Social Change

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. workers involved in work stoppages in 2018 reached its highest point since the mid-1980s. The resurgence of the use of strikes and worker activists withholding labor is set against the backdrop of enormous societal challenges like wealth and income inequality, climate change, and a lack of affordable, quality health care.  

Understanding the Role Federal Tax Credits Play in the Affordable Housing & Renewable Energy Sectors

For better or worse, both affordable housing and renewable energy projects in the US are mostly built and owned by private developers and corporations. These private developers in turn are reliant on private capital provided by investors, corporations and banks. Almost all these investors rely heavily on federal tax credits.  90% of affordable housing in the US receives a subsidy through the low-income housing tax credit (“LIHTC”). Virtually all large-scale wind and solar projects receive tax credit subsides as well (“ITC” or “PTC”).

Housing and Community Development Policy I

This course explores the historic, economic and social context of current housing and community development policy in the U.S., including how housing and community conditions are intertwined. The course will provide an overview of housing and community development policy, with an emphasis on major federal policies and how they play out on the ground. A key goal of the course is for students to develop content knowledge of the field as well as insights for assessing the relative merits of various policies and interventions- what problem are we trying to solve?

Digital Communications for Advocacy and Politics

This course examines digital content marketing for nonprofits, NGOs and corporate philanthropy through a practical lens. Through case studies across industries, it explores professional digital marketing, and develops fundamentals for digital professionals including principles of design thinking, strategy, measurement, analytics and more.

Geographic Information Systems (EMPA)

Understanding geographic relationships between people, land use, and resources is fundamental to planning. Urban planners routinely use spatial analysis to inform decision-making. This course will introduce students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a tool to analyze and visualize spatial data. The course will emphasize the core functions of GIS: map making, data management, and spatial analysis. Students will learn cartographic best practices, how to find and create spatial data, spatial analysis methodology, and how to approach problem solving from a geographic perspective.

Transportation Policy and Behavior

This course examines the behavioral foundation for policy design, using urban transportation as examples. We introduce multiple frameworks of understanding travel behavior, rational or irrational, contrasting the perspectives of classic economic theory with behavioral economics and social psychology, and suggest corresponding policy interventions: a behavior--theory--policy mapping.

Topics in Urban Design

This course entitled “The Transforming Role of Public Art: Contextualizing History and Redefining Public Space” challenges students to re-imagine the Manhattan Civic Center as an African-American Historic District. The Manhattan Civic Center has long been the gateway into New York City. The Civic Center is at the heart of our municipal government and occupies land at the intersection between Chinatown, Lower Manhattan, Two Bridges and Tribeca.

Poverty, Inequality, and Policy (EMPA)

This course examines the nature and extent of poverty primarily in the U.S. but with a comparative perspective (developed countries in Europe). To start, this course will focus on how poverty is defined and measured. It will proceed to explore how conceptions of poverty are socially constructed and historically bounded; examine what the causes and consequences of poverty are and discuss how these are complex and interwoven; and show how people can experience poverty at different points in their life course—some groups experiencing poverty more so than others.

Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities

Sustainability requires the efficient use of resources.  The least carbon- and energy-intensive pattern of settlement today is in compact, walkable cities whose integrated networks of infrastructure that allows us to move, eat, drink, play, and survive extreme weather.  As our population shifts to urban and coastal areas, we will need to build more infrastructure systems to accommodate growth and to increase sustainability.  Yet we are building too little, too slow to maintain our existing infrastructure, let alone to facilitate next generation systems that will accelerate our society to a

Urban Research Seminar

This course, taught jointly by faculty members of the Gallatin School and the Wagner School, offers doctoral students an opportunity to learn about the latest theoretical and empirical research on critical urban issues. The course is not taught in a lecture format. Rather, the colloquium focuses on discussions of academic works in progress by scholars from around the country, working in such disciplines as sociology, history, planning, law, public health, public policy, and economics.

Urban Research Seminar II

This course, taught jointly by faculty members of the Gallatin School and the Wagner School, offers doctoral students an opportunity to learn about the latest theoretical and empirical research on critical urban issues. The course is not taught in a lecture format. Rather, the colloquium focuses on discussions of academic works in progress by scholars from around the country, working in such disciplines as sociology, history, planning, law, public health, public policy, and economics.

Topics in Urban Transportation Studies and Practice

This course explores urban transportation policy and practice, with a focus on New York City and the impacts of COVID-19 on urban streets and mass transit systems.  In this course, we will explore topics including the transformational potential of Open Streets programs, Vision Zero, the impact of shared micromobility, electric vehicles and the tech sector on transportation and climate, rethinking parking policy, challenges in traffic enforcement and transportation equity, as well as the fiscal crisis facing mass transit.  We will also explore the roles of the federal, state and city governm