Urban Politics and Planning

Examines the politics of urban planning, land use, environmental regulation, and economic development. Principal aim is to help students think strategically about the role of governance–and the group conflicts that swirl around it–in shaping the physical, social, and economic character of urban places. Focuses mainly on U.S. experience, but with some attention to international comparisons. Policy topics include land use planning, zoning, infrastructure investment, downtown revitalization; public-private partnerships for economic development; and efforts to move from urban sprawl to \”smart growth.\” Cross-cutting topics include comparisons of U.S. patterns of urban planning and development with those in selected other countries, the causes and consequences of sprawl and racial-class segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas; business-government relations; and contending theories about the balance of forces in U.S. urban politics. Emphasis placed throughout on the special roles of business and of grass-roots democracy in U.S. urban governance, and on tensions between the values of economic development, citizen participation, and equity.Please Note: This course will be taught at Harvard Kennedy School in Littauer 130.