Courses In: Cities

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, titled “What the L?!” will engage the real-time urban design and transportation challenges connected to the closure of one of New York City’s subway lines. The L train operates between 8th Avenue (Manhattan) and Rockaway Parkway (Brooklyn) and currently serves over 300,000 riders each day. Beginning in April 2019, the tunnel between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue will be closed for reconstruction, causing significant transportation disruptions.

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 Plan Practicum

This experiential course is designed to examine the nexus between real estate development and urban planning. Building on a case study designed by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), students are placed on teams of 4-5 students and assume the following roles on a private development team: finance director, marketing director, city liaison, neighborhood liaison, and site planner. Student development teams respond to an RFP to redevelop a 5 ½ block site from a hypothetical city with unique combinations of residential, office, commercial, and community facility uses.

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.

Environmental Planning: Communities, Fairness, and Beyond

What are the possibilities and limits that communities, broadly conceived, encounter for achieving environmental justice at the intersection of race, class, gender and caste? This course develops a framework for understanding key issues in Environmental Planning and Activism from the perspective of communities, collective action and fairness. Students will also be encouraged to begin developing their own philosophical orientation and toolkit for practice.

Financing Urban Government

This course explores the role of U.S. urban governments in the economy, their relationship to the state and federal governments, and the institutional parameters of devising and implementing sound public policy.  Both the sources and uses of funds will be considered in the context of different tax instruments, the relative merit of each tool and the implications for equity and efficiency of public policy.

Topics in Urban Studies: City Leadership

This course explores the challenges of governing New York City, and promoting social justice and lasting change for the benefit of all New Yorkers.  In New York City, delivering quality public services, increasing equity, and driving large-scale change initiatives is made all the more challenging because of the complex array of stakeholders and institutions that impact the life of the City.  This course will be led by Richard Buery, who recently served as deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives in New York City and led a wide range of successful initiatives including PreK For All, men

Geographic Information Systems

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.