Public Finance for Planners: Creating Equitable & Sustainable Communities

Infrastructure challenges are significant and rising. To meet these challenges, urban planners will need to acquire foundational knowledge and skills in the public finance discipline and gain a basic awareness of how such tools and levers are used by city leaders to raise money to fund infrastructure, neighborhood redevelopment plans, and other new capital projects. This course will introduce students to the spectrum of public finance strategies and approaches that are available to cities, states and localities and will elevate how each strategy can be considered in the development of urban planning strategies to enhance an urban planners work and position projects to achieve strong equity, sustainability, and other place-based outcomes. The goal of the course will be to educate students on tactical ways that public finance principles can be integrated into the urban planning process. To that end, students will learn how to make choices that position an urban planning project for stronger funding, for stronger economic development outcomes and to achieve growth that is inclusive.  The course will combine various pedagogical methods that include lecture, discussion, and exercises that challenge students to consider their role as advisors to leaders in a city. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to evaluate the impact of alternative resource mobilization and public finance avenues that an urban planner may encounter by examining real projects. No prior course work or experience in public finance or economic development is necessary for students to succeed in the course, as the course will provide students with the necessary foundation to understand core concepts in the domains of public finance and economic development that will be covered.