Courses In: Cities

Planning Healthy Neighborhoods

In the US, Health is a privilege, not a right. Approaches to health in this country have focused on treatment and cures, rather than prevention and care. Studies have shown that your zip code, where you live, matters more to your health than your genetic code. Concurrently, data continues to emerge that trauma, and the effects of trauma, can be passed through our genes, from generation to generation, suggesting that enslavement, forced displacement, and poverty of our ancestors are felt in our bones, today.

Urban Infrastructure Project Planning

This course is about the process of scoping and planning public sector investment projects and the basic knowledge and skills required for their financial and economic appraisal (‘ex-ante’ evaluation).

The focus is on urban infrastructure projects identified, prioritized, and appraised through local/municipal planning processes. Case studies include water supply and sewerage, urban transport, solid waste management and green infrastructure.

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 Policy I

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

Urban Design

This course, “Urban Design— Visualization Tools & Neighborhood Challenges,” will introduce students to visualization techniques in a series of linked exercises during the first half of the semester; in the second half of the semester, students will further develop these visualization and design tools as they address challenges and opportunities in a rapidly-changing New York City neighborhood. Instructor Joanna Simon will teach the first half of the course while Professor Louise Harpman will teach the second half.

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: Policy Agenda Setting in an Increasingly Polarized World

In an increasingly diverse city and country, the responsibility of public servants stretches far beyond writing and passing legislation. True representation requires consistent and meaningful engagement with historically underrepresented communities. In this course, students will discuss how lawmakers and those in public service can ensure that all stakeholders are heard in the decision-making process, and determine best practices for reaching communities who have historically been left behind by government.

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.

Hunger and Food Security in a Global Perspective

This course explores the political and economic policy issues surrounding hunger and food security, drawing on many case examples. The course will provide an overview of some of the core dimensions of global hunger and food security policy issues, including debates over reconfiguring food systems to address health, equity, and sustainability; a new green revolution; food aid; fair trade, and role of the food system in addressing climate change.

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.

Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in American Cities

This course examines historic and contemporary patterns of racial and ethnic stratification often found at the center of disputes concerning urban development, the allocation of city resources and unequal distributions of power. Also embedded throughout the course are ongoing analyses of the ways in which structural inequalities often function in class and gender-specific ways.