Economic Development in Urban Planning

Course Objectives and Outcomes

This course introduces students to the theories, analytic frameworks and financial tools used to encourage local economic development in the U.S. Students investigate the key debates in the field and examine the different roles that practitioners play in the economic development process.

The goal of this course is to ensure that students gain a basic understanding of the economic issues effecting communities. The course is organized around the basic themes of urban economics and focuses on the allocation of scarce resources and the global competition for private investment. Students should leave with a clear understanding of locational and investment decisions, private sector market forces and public policies that can shape local economic systems.

Successful completion of the course should prepare students with an appreciation of the critical components of sustainable economic growth, the factors that contribute to economic prosperity, and approaches being undertaken by communities to foster economic opportunity for all.

Topics Covered by Session

Week 1 – Urban Economics Issues and Analysis
Week 2 – Market Forces in Urbanization
Week 3 – Theory, Principal and Practice of Economic Development Planning
Week 4 – Federal and State Perspectives on Local Economic Development
Week 5 – Introduction to Real Estate Law and Development Finance
Week 6 – Economic Development Resources, Data and Tools
Week 7 – Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies
Week 8 – Midterm Exam
Week 9 – Neighborhood Development Initiatives
Week 10 – Decline, Fall & Rise of America’s Older Industrial Cities
Week 11 – Reuse and Redevelopment of Underutilized Property
Week 12 – Business Development vs. Workforce Development
Week 13- Local Perceptions of Economic Development
Week 14 – The Economic Development Experience in the Boston Metro Area

Required Readings

Students should anticipate approximately one hour of outside reading for each hour of class time. There will be two required texts:

Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Blakely & Leigh, Sage 2010)
A solid and accessible introduction to economic development from the perspective of professional urban planning particularly for those with little prior coursework in economics.

Economic Development Finance (Seidman, Sage 2005).
A thorough treatment of the techniques used to finance economic development initiatives.

Additional required readings, studies, reports, journal articles, etc., are organized by week and will be available on the course website.

Previous coursework in economics would be helpful.