Courses In: Cities

Equitable Community Engagement

Key to the planning profession is engagement. Most of a planner’s work necessitates engagement of institutions and of people in order to effectuate change, and change (or prevention thereof) is the planner’s currency. Specifically this course will look at community engagement, or engagement of the public within a defined geography. What is community? How is it defined? What does it look and feel like? And how does it manifest itself, or not, as part of the planning process? Communities in the United States are rarely equitable, particularly as it relates to planning.

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 is the first course in a two-course sequence in housing and community development policy, with an emphasis on the former. This first course explores the historic, economic and social context of current housing policy in the U.S., including how housing and community conditions and policies are intertwined. It provides an overview of housing and community development policy, with an emphasis on major federal policies and how they play out on the ground.

Topics in Urban Design

This course, "City Streets and Urban Landscapes," will immerse students in a study of established and emerging urban design priorities for city streets. Streets and sidewalks operate as the most public of our city’s public spaces, at once forming connective tissue between different locations while also creating borders and boundaries.

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

Topics in Urban Studies: Managing Complex Systems Reform in Government

Many of the thorniest issues in public service are hard to solve because it takes trust and cooperation across levels of government and siloes of service. Using the examples from the areas of juvenile justice reform, homelessness, and alternatives to policing for crisis response, this class will explore what it takes to build and sustain meaningful reforms that bring deep systemic change to improve community well-being to these interconnected issues.

Racial Inequality in America: What Do We Do Now?

Students in this course will explore the spatial aspects of inequality, including racial segregation, concentrated poverty, and government structure. Course materials will investigate the consequences of these inequalities for individuals, communities, and American society as a whole, as well as how these seemingly-intractable problems were created by and continue because of public policy decisions. This course will be an interactive experience, requiring preparation before coming to class and active exchange during class.

Public Policy and Planning in New York

There is no profession more noble than public service, and no arena more exciting than New York. Our objective is to gain insight into how our city and state governments make decisions, informed by a foundational and wide-ranging understanding of the forces at work and issues that face policymakers today. I am teaching this class because of my longstanding—and ever-expanding—interest in the practice of public policy and a deeply held belief that the effectiveness of our government depends on the quality of those who serve in it.

Urban Economics

The field of urban economics addresses a wide variety of questions and topics. At the most general level, the field introduces space into economic models and studies the location of economic activity. Urban economics typically addresses four sets of questions, and this course is organized around these four areas. The first set of questions focuses on the development of urban areas. Why do cities exist and why do some grow more rapidly? How can local governments encourage such growth? The second set of questions addresses patterns of development within metropolitan areas.

Land Use, Housing and Community Development in New York City Seminar

This interdisciplinary seminar brings together law, urban planning and public policy students to analyze historic and current trends in affordable housing, community development, land use, and housing finance.  We use New York City as a laboratory that is both unique from, and similar to, other American cities.  The course focuses on housing/community development policy, real estate and mortgage financing, subsidies, community participation, environmental impact, and neighborhood change such as gentrification and displacement, with particular emphasis on how issues of race, poverty, and the

Community Equity and Wealth Building

This course introduces graduate students to the field of community wealth-building, neighborhood equity, and movements for community-led economic development. Students will examine ways that communities have organized against redlining, and for access to capital; methods for ensuring collaborative, inclusive economic development and a just transition from an extractive to a regenerative economy; and technical tools needed to advance cooperative economics and locally-controlled development.

Land Use Law

This course is designed to give you a better understanding of the legal and administrative framework used to regulate land use at various levels of government, and the relationship of the planner to the law. We will cover basic legal procedures as well as statutory and regulatory materials relating to zoning, urban renewal and eminent domain, regulatory takings, inclusionary housing, historic preservation, and environmental law.