CSUN  Wordmark
Page Description

The following page is a two column layout with a header that contains a quicklinks jump menu and the search CSUN function. Page sections are identified with headers. The footer contains update, contact and emergency information.



Urban Studies & Planning
208 Sierra Hall
CSU Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8259

Hours: M-F (8 a.m. to 5 p.m)
Phone: (818) 677-2904
Fax: (818) 677-5850




You may need the Adobe Reader to view the PDF documents on this site.

adobe reader

Courselist (.pdf)

Sample Schedule of Courses (.pdf)

Sample Schedule of Classes (HTML)

Lower Division

URBS 150.   The Urban Scene (3)
A lecture-discussion course on the problems of the modern city and its environment. Subjects discussed include economics, culture, architecture, politics, crime, pollution, planning, history, etc. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)

URBS 250. Planning the Multiethnic City (3)
Comprehensive analysis of the social, cultural and land use structure of cities in the US during the 20th century. A major focus of the course will be on the significant demographic changes that have influenced urban and public policy since 1975.   This course will explore a myriad of issues related to multi-ethnic constituencies in American cities.

Upper Division

URBS 300. The Planning Idea (3)
Prerequisite: URBS 150. Detailed examination of the foundational ideas and issues of the urban planning profession drawn from planning history, alternative models of planning, and planning ethics. Planning principles will be examined in the context of case studies drawn from the Los Angeles region, the U.S. and world cities.

URBS 310.   Growth and Development of Cities (3)
An examination of the forces contributing to the form, development, and structure of cities. Emphasis on urban areas of the United States. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)

URBS 345. The General Plan and Zoning (3)
This course deals with the requirements for comprehensive planning and zoning in the State of California. Emphasis will be placed on the mandated general plan elements of Land Use, Housing, Circulation, Open Space, Conservation, Safety, and Noise.   Special attention will be paid to formulating a framework for a general plan, preparation, adoption, and amendment of the general plan. As the major tool for the implementation of the general plan, zoning will be addressed in terms of the enactment process and administration through the use of the variance, conditional use permits, and zone changes. Students will be required to participate in a series of field-based and studio-based exercises focusing on general plan formulation and current zoning problems .

URBS 340AB.   Urban Research Methods (3-3)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing. Identification and examination of information sources used by public and private clients in urban research; introduction to appropriate research designs and methodologies; collection and analysis of data.   Emphasis on student generated research design, field work and final project. Two hours lecture and two hours methods activity.

URBS 350.   Cities of the Third World (3)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing and completion of lower-division writing requirement. A cultural analysis of Third World urbanization and counter-urbanization with emphasis on particular aspects of urban life and social change in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeastern Asia. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)

URBS 380.   Los Angeles: Past, Present, Future (3)
(Same as HIST and POLS 380)
A multidisciplinary investigation of the Los Angeles urban area - its patterns of population and resources distribution; its historical, economic, social and cultural developments; and policies models designed to cope with its problems and to develop its potential as an ethnically diverse metropolis on the Pacific Rim.   Application of social science methodology.   Series of faculty and guest speakers, weakly discussion sessions, field trips.   (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)

URBS 400. Planning for the Natural and Built Environment (3)
Prerequisites: Completion of the lower-division writing requirement and Economics 200 or 300. The relationships between people and technology in the city; the application of resources to supply such urban needs as transportation, waste disposal, water and communication. Technological change and forecasting.

URBS 405. Advanced Research Methods (3)
Prerequisite: URBS 340A/Al and B/ BL.   This course focuses on key urban planning concepts, theories, and research methods. Emphasis will be placed on the application of research methods to tasks normally assigned to professional planners and the completion of a class project that focuses on a specific urban planning problem defined by a local, community-based organization (CBO). Working with a CBO, students will prepare a proposal consisting of a problem statement, a research protocol, gather quantitative and qualitative data, perform analysis, and write a final report that includes recommendations to the community-based organization.

URBS 408. Policymaking for Urban Planners (3)
The course will comprehensively address the complex arena of public policy in relation to city planning, land use issues and urban policy. This will incorporate how a society based on pluralist democracy balances the demands of a range of interest groups including planners, city bureaucracies, politicians, community groups, private sector economic interests, the non-profit sector, state and federal agencies, and the general public. The focus will be on issues related to the built environment and the controversial nature of constant transformation of land uses in cities. In addition, the course will address the interrelationship between local government implementation strategies, and federal urban program laws and regulations. The course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the linkages between urban social policy, distributional equity in local and federal programs, and environmental considerations within the arena of governmental decision making systems.

URBS 415. The California Environmental Quality Act for Urban Planners (3)
This course deals with California's statutory requirements for environmental planning and policy. The focus of the course will be on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process which addresses with the preparation of Initial Studies, issuance of Negative Declarations, preparation of draft and final environmental impact reports (EIRs), litigation, decision-making, and the requirements of professional consulting. A special emphasis will be placed on understanding the environmental implications of typical projects that occur in an urban setting.

URBS 412. Grant Writing (3)
Prerequisite:   Upper division standing.   URBS 340 A, A1, and B, B1.
This course is intended to provide students with basic knowledge in the research, writing, and planning skills involved in preparing grant proposals.   Presumption is that students possess no substantive prior knowledge of grant writing.   Students will learn the basic phases of writing a grant proposal, how to search for sources of grant funding, and the process of submitting grants proposals to public and private agencies and foundations.   Students will also learn how to use the internet to search for grant opportunities.   Emphasis will be placed on nonprofit organizations that deal with human service needs.   The course will address how to manage the implementation of a grant proposal and how to measure the impact a particular service has on a community.

URBS 416. Urban Housing (3)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing and completion of lower division writing requirements. This course is designed to help students explore the complexity of housing and housing-related issues from a planning perspective. Students will develop a basic understanding of the housing market, its relationship to community development, and its importance to communities and the U.S. economy. A wide variety of topics will be discussed, including the use and meaning of housing, the development of Federal, State, and local housing policy, the changing dynamics of housing policy, the housing market, housing finance, the challenge of providing affordable housing, and the relationship of housing to community development/neighborhood transformation. Considerable emphasis will be placed on housing issues in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Class time will be devoted to lectures, guest lectures, class discussions, and group discussions.

URBS 420.   Communities, Neighborhoods and Planning (3)
Prerequisites: Upper division standing and completion of the lower-division writing requirement. The study of human behavior as it is affected by basic human needs and urban environmental conditions, and an examination of alternative strategies for restructuring social institutions and social behavior.

URBS 425. Social Policy, Environmental Justice and the City (3)
This course will address the linkages between urban social policy, distributional equity in local and federal programs, and environmental movements initiated as a response to regressive land use and/or planning strategies.   The specific areas of social policy that will be analyzed in this course are housing policies and programs, economic development and revitalization, transportation, urban recreation and cultural projects, and local governmental implementation strategies.

URBS 430.   Planning in the Public Sector (3)
Prerequisites: Upper-division standing and completion of the lower-division writing requirement. Analysis of public and private institutions through which modern urban society functions, with emphasis on the structure and functions of cities from the perspective of their organizational life.

URBS 435. Planning for Community Development   (3)
Prerequisite: URBS 310. Examination of the theories of local economic development and how each theory informs real-world policy and practice. The implementation and implications of alternative strategies are illustrated by specific case studies.

URBS 440.   Community-Based Urban Design (3)
Prerequisite: URBS 340AB, AL, BL, or other equivalent research methods courses. The study of current urban design techniques and policies and their application to local communities and neighborhoods.

URBS 441. Advanced Urban Design (3)
Prerequisites:   URBS 440 or consent of the instructor
This second, advanced course in the Urban Design series (URBS 440 and URBS 441) examines selected aspects of urban design and development in further depth, typically involving sites in Southern California through a practice-oriented studio experience that requires civic engagement and community partnership.   The design project selected will vary by semester as well as the urban design topics selected for emphasis, which might include advanced problem-solving methodologies; the utilization of computer simulation techniques; methods for community participation; research in planning, environment and behavior, or environmental sustainability; or real estate development practices.   Emphasis will be placed on developing physical designs and/or implementation strategies to create livable, sustainable, and "smart" communities that balance economic prosperity and social equity with environmental protection

URBS 450.   Urban Problems Seminar (4)
Prerequisites: Senior standing and completion of the lower-division writing requirement. An advanced seminar on problems and issues in urban and environmental studies.   Interdisciplinary symposia and opportunities for critical appraisal and exchange of ideas on special studies developed in or stemming from field work.   Emphasis on case studies and other problem approaches.

URBS 460. Legal Foundations of Planning (3)
Prerequisites: Upper Division Standing and completion of the lower division writing requirement. This course is a general introduction to land use planning law in the United States. It looks primarily at the state, regional, and municipal levels with an emphasis on practices and procedures to manage land use and growth in California. The course covers four broad areas: Introduction to Law and the US Legal System, State and Local Planning Law, Managing Urban Land Use: Conflicts and Quality of Life, and Managing Growth.

URBS 480.   Transportation Planning (3)
Prerequisites: URBS 150 or URBS 250; or consent of the instructor.
This course is a general introduction to the interrelated systems of urban transportation and urban land use and its effect on the growth, development, and future of human settlements.   The course will provide entry-level competence for students seeking employment in transportation planning in the public or private sectors.   Four broad areas are covered:   transportation planning history, transportation and land use theory, transportation planning process and techniques, and urban transportation policy.

URBS 490ABC.   Field Work (1-2-3)
Prerequisites: URBS 340AB. An introduction to urban field analysis and interview techniques through supervised field work and individual projects.

URBS 494ABC.   Internship (1-2-3)
Prerequisite: Senior standing. Upon prior approval by the Internship Coordinator, students may earn up to 6 units for professional experience in a planning department, social service agency, or other public or private organization dealing with urban problems.

URBS 495A-Z. Selected Topics in Urban Planning (3)
Prerequisite: URBS 340 A, Al and B, Bl.   This course deals with a wide range of topics and specializations that are customarily dealt   with by professional urban planners.  

URBS 496A-Z.   Experimental Courses in Urban Studies and planning (1-3)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing. Selected topics in Urban Studies and Planning with course content to be determined.

URBS 499.   Independent Study (1-3)