Urban Economics for Planners and Policymakers

This course introduces economic frameworks for understanding both the benefits and challenges of living in, working in and managing cities.  Urban economics incorporates the concept of space into canonical economic models and provides a lens for analyzing and describing the nature and organization of economic activity in urban settings.  We will explore questions around why cities exist at all, what determines their growth, and what features contribute to their advantages as well as their unique problems.  Why do some cities grow faster than others?  Can cities ever get too dense or large?  We will draw from typical urban economic models and frameworks, but will also discuss and test their limits when applying them to complex urban systems. For example, how well do these models address issues of segregation and informality in cities?  The course will draw from research and scholarship in the field of urban economics, as well as actual cases, policy applications and guest lecturers employing these concepts in the field.  Students who take this class will be able to use economic frameworks and methods to design, evaluate and implement planning and policy interventions in a range of urban settings.