Policy-Making in Urban Settings

Jointly-offered with the Kennedy School of Government (HUT 100), this course reviews policy-making in American cities, focusing on differing economic, demographic, institutional and political settings. The course will consider economic development and job growth in the context of metropolitan regions and the emerging \”new economy\”, and will address federal, state and local government strategies for expanding community economic development and affordable housing opportunities. Of special concern will be the continuing spatial and racial isolation of low-income populations, especially minority populations residing in central city neighborhoods. The course will examine how sub-urbanization of employment, reduction in number of low-skilled jobs, and racial discrimination combine to limit housing and employment opportunities. During the semester, students will prepare two brief policy memoranda and complete a take home examination, consisting of three short essays.Following a brief introduction, the course is divided into four sections. The first section assesses alternative views of housing market dynamics, neighborhood change, and metropolitan development, with a special emphasis on the ways issues of race, ethnicity and class are reflected in the public deliberation about housing, community and urban economic development programs. The second section examines strategies to promote economic development, with emphasis on the current debate about how best to identify and to build on the competitive advantages of particular inner-city neighborhoods, and how best to involve private sector entities in efforts to expand employment opportunities for the poor. Next, the course explores alternative approaches to expanding access to affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities. The final section identifies emerging federal state and local efforts to forge new comprehensive approaches to community economic development. Open to all students from the Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate School of Design. Students from other faculties with interests in housing, community and economic development issues are also encouraged to participate.