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 development, regenerate functionally obsolete areas, and revitalize marginalized neighborhoods, in situations ranging from mega cities to smaller provincial centers. The course addresses issues of population movements, transnational migration and exclusion and discusses strategies that promote social inclusion. The case studies highlight changing patterns of public and private roles in planning, financing and managing urban development activities. They also illustrate different processes of participation in urban planning and governance and empowering poor and marginalized populations. Special attention is given to environmental sustainability of development strategies and the use of physical assets and social capital as key components of these strategies.The course emphasizes the expanding scope of public/private partnerships and the role of private enterprise, non governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) in developing land, managing the built environment, improving living conditions, providing housing and delivering 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 late 1990s in different economic, social and cultural settings, and the challenges arising from globalization and widening income disparities.- To review the concepts and methods of strategic planning as they are applied to address complex urban issues 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 and the importance of social inclusion initiatives.Requirements– Attendance at the two weekly sessions. – Reading of selected materials from the list of references and web sites 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 urban specialists in international development and a technical brief (not more than 5 pages) summarizing the proposed strategy and financing plan and indicating the rationale for the selection of objectives, strategies and actions presented in the plan.For the two exercises, students will work in self-selected teams and have the option to choose among locations in different geographic regions offering a variety of economic, social and cultural contexts. Selected background information is provided.The final exercise addresses the challenges of development in the region of La Rioja, Spain and its towns. This area has a distinctive character and special natural and cultural assets. Mrs. Maria Martin, Director