Strategic Planning and Local Development

This course examines strategies for urban and regional development within the context of a globalized economy where cities are the engines of growth. Fierce competition, unavoidable interdependence, fast-paced technological change, widening income disparities, and environmental degradation are creating new challenges that urban development strategies must address. Concepts and methods of strategic planning as a framework for participation, decision-making and resource allocation are examined in different economic, institutional and cultural settings. Case studies illustrate strategies to promote urban and regional development, regenerate functionally obsolete areas, and revitalize marginalized neighborhoods, in situations ranging from mega cities to smaller provincial centers. The case studies examine the use of physical assets as key components of economic, social and financial strategies and highlight changing patterns of public and private roles in planning, financing and managing urban development activities. They also illustrate participatory processes in urban planning & governance and the empowerment of poor and marginalized populations. The course emphasizes the expanding scope of public/private partnerships and the role of non governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) in improving living conditions, managing the built environment, and providing housing and urban services. Selected \”Best Practices\” illustrate award-winning initiatives and new trends reshaping local planning and governance. They also highlight roles for urban planners and designers in leading or guiding development initiatives and fostering an understanding of their social and cultural dimensions.Pedagogic Objectives To provide students with an overview of the changing context of urban development strategies since the mid 1990s in different economic, social and cultural settings, and the challenges arising from widening disparities.To review concepts and methods of strategic planning as they are applied to address complex urban problems and cope with fast paced change in cities in different parts of the world.To explore the expanding scope for partnerships in urban development among public authorities, private enterprise, non governmental organizations and community based organizations. To further an understanding of the structure of participatory frameworks and processes in the development of urban strategies and action plans.Requirements Attendance at the two weekly sessions. Reading of selected materials from the list of references provided.Some research work as part of the exercises. Two exercises to be presented and discussed in class. A final exercise to be presented to a panel of invited experts in urban development and a technical brief (not more than 5 pages) summarizing the proposed strategy and finance plan and indicating the rationale for the selection of objectives, strategies and actions presented in the plan.For the exercises, students will work in self-selected teams and have the option to choose among sites in different geographic regions offering a variety of economic, social and cultural contexts. Selected background information on each site is provided.Basis of Final Grade Class Participation: 20% Presentation of Exercises I and II: 40% Presentation of Final Exercise: 40%