This course reviews urban transportation planning and implementation over the past fifty years within the US with a particular focus on the Boston Metropolitan area history of conflict, politics, and implementation. The focus on the Boston area makes it possible to visit and understand the specific sites of major conflicts, and subsequent changes in policy that have occurred in the area, which both reflect national trends, and have had a strong influence on national policy over the past half century. Lectures will be informed by required readings and class discussion, as well as four written assignments concerning active unresolved conflicts and tensions within the area. A multistep process for analysis and decision making by multiple actors affected by and interacting in the transportation planning process will be encouraged as a means of improving insight into the dynamic and ultimate outcome of each assignment. Students will be expected to attend lectures and participate in discussion, visit sites being discussed, and complete the assignments. Two of the assignments will be group efforts, and two will be individual assignments. There will also be two walking tours of the sites of important recent controversies and resulting implementation of plans.
The course is open to graduate students at Harvard and MIT, from various disciplines, with an emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach. It is also available for undergraduates with permission of the instructor.