URBS 310: Growth and Development of Cities
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, SH 208, CSUN
Tu, Th: 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM – Room SH 265
Instructor: Ashwani Vasishth, ST 206
Office Hours: Tu,
Th 10.00 – 11:00 AM
or by appointment
Course website: http://www.csun.edu/~vasishth/URBS-310.html
NB: This course fulfills the requirements of an upper-division General Education course.
Stein, Jay M. (ed.). 2004. Classic Readings in Urban Planning. 2nd Edition. Chicago: Planners Press.
Additional readings are available digitally on WebCT.
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION:
Cities have long been considered the hallmark of human civilizations, in that we know our past civilizations most from the cities they built. To this extent at least, our cities tell the story of how our society came to be, and the directions in which it may be headed. In this course we will explore the diverse complex of forces that shape, and are in their own turn reshaped by, the process of urbanization. What are the ineluctable forces that drive humans to organize themselves into urban conglomerations? How do these forces affect us, as individuals and as human societies? We need to understand this complex process of city growth, so that we can understand whether it is possible to better manage the ways in which our cities develop.
When we think about cities, particularly in the context of the US, we are drawn most strongly to the memes of dilapidated downtowns and thriving suburban sprawl. Are these “natural” outcomes of urban development? Or are they but the incidental consequences of specific self-images, socio-economic policies and historical contingencies? Does the unfettered development of market-based democracies demand a particular typology in our cities that it is simply foolish to fight? Or can we actually, and properly, envision alternative urban forms and fabrics, and choose to live differently than we currently find our selves doing? Must we continue to accept the cities that we inherit from our forebears? Or can we choose perhaps, following Omar Khayyam, to “shatter it to bits, and remold it closer to our hearts desire”?
Sustainability is, broadly speaking, the ability to persist, through time—to endure into the future. It is held, by sustainability planners, that conventional societal decision making processes are unsustainable on two counts: first, because they give an almost exclusive attention to economic factors while effectively ignoring ecological and societal factors; and second, because these decision processes, being linked to money, interest rates and discounting, unduly prioritize the present over the future. In such a view, a multi-perspective, multi-criteria decision making process, one that takes account of long-term as well as immediate concerns, is more sustainable.
Another factor emerging in the currently ongoing debates about the shapes of our cities, and thus our civilization, has to do with ecological footprint—what is the burden a particular way of life imposes upon the planet? If we take it that the ecosphere has some hypothetical (and debatable but actual) “carrying capacity,” to what extent are we using up this carrying capacity for our own interests, and so jeopardizing the well-being of other species, as well as non-living biogeochemical processes and functions—and, hence, effectively our own well-being? Can we actually manage to reduce the footprint of our cities, without losing in our quality of life? Can we learn to live more lightly upon the land? What would we have to give up, and what would we have to embrace, if we took it upon ourselves to seek out forms of urban growth and development that were more sustainable?
This is a research-oriented course. As such, you’re going to have to work hard to keep up with both the readings and with your research. Tuesday will be used for in-class discussion and Thursday for lecture, audio-visual material and discussion of your research projects.
There will be two major assignments, one in the form of a mid-term paper (8 pages @20% of the total grade) and one final paper (10 pages @ 30% of the total grade).
The mid-term project will be based on the course text. You will be required to pick one of the seven sections into which the articles in the text book are sorted, and to then use the subject matter of that section to structure your research. You would use the articles in that section to build your topic, and use six additional scholarly sources to write your paper. You will submit an annotated bibliography and a draft of the paper, as will be specified in class.
The subject matter of the final paper is open to negotiation, and I really would prefer that you use these as a means to exploring your own professional or academic interests. This paper will be based on your own research (10 scholarly sources), although you are welcome to use material from the text book or the class handouts as well. You will submit an annotated bibliography and a draft of the paper, as will be specified in class.
You will prepare a weekly study guide (2 pages) summarizing the material for discussion that week (20% of the total grade). Use this to prepare for a test in which you will be allowed to use your study guide. There will be three actual in-class pop quizzes based on the assigned readings (15% of the total grade). Informed participation and attendance (that is to say, coming to class and asking questions) are worth 15% of the grade
All assignments (other than in-class work) are required to be typed, double-spaced, and in a standard 12 point font. Do not use colored inks. You are required to leave a 1.25 inch left and right margin. You are required to leave two spaces after every period. You are required to use informative sub-headings in your papers. Bibliographies, with appropriate in-text citations, are required. Each submission will carry your name, e-mail address, course number and the date at the top right-hand corner of the first page. In cases where your submission has more than one page, it will be stapled, once, at the top left-hand corner. Do not use any sort of binder strips or covers or decorative embellishment. Proof-read your work for typos and spelling mistakes. This is not optional. Which means it is compulsory. Points will be deducted if these requirements are not met.
In general, you are strongly urged to make use of the course web-site, library and scholarly internet resources, in-class discussion, as well as office-hour meetings to further your interests.
Plagiarism will not be condoned under any circumstances. Please know that I will unhesitatingly fail any one who I find to have cheated by copying text from other sources. Plagiarism, for this course, is defined as the use of three or more consecutive words that have been written by someone else, and that you have not placed within quotation marks, with an appropriate citation. Ideas are free, words are owned by the author. Better you write less perfectly than you would like, and so learn to write better, than you choose to use someone else’s words.
You are strongly advised to familiarize yourselves with the material at:
Annotated Bibliography for Mid-term Paper Due On Thursday, September 26, 2008
Mid-Term Paper Due On Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Annotated Bibliography for Final Paper Due on Thursday, November 13, 2008
Final Paper Due On Thursday, December 11, 2008.
COURSE READING SCHEDULE:
[Tuesdays will be reserved for discussion of the readings assigned during the previous week]
Downs, Anthony. 1998. “The Big Picture: How America's Cities Are Growing,” The Brookings Review, v16n4 (Fall 1998): 8-11.
Kenneth T. Jackson. “Federal Subsidy and the American Dream: How Washington Changed the American Housing Market,” Crabgrass Frontier.
Part I: Planning History and Theory
John W Reps, "Towns, Time, and Tradition: The Legacy of Planning in Frontier America," Town Planning In Frontier America,
Aaron Wildavsky, "If Planning Is Everything, Maybe It's Nothing," Policy Sciences
Part I: Planning History and Theory (contd.)
Horst W.J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, "Dilemmas In A General Theory of Planning," Policy Sciences
Crawford S. Holling & Michael Goldberg. “Ecology and Planning,” Journal of the American Planning Association.
Part II: Comprehensive Planning, Land Use and Growth Management
Alan Altschuler, "The goals of comprehensive planning," The city planning process
Judith E. Innes, "Planning through consensus building: a new view of the comprehensive planning ideal," Journal of the American Planning Association
Part III: Economic, Political, Social, and Strategic Issues In Planning and Development
John Forester, "Planning in the face of power," Planning in the Face of Power
Harvey Molotch, "The city as a growth machine: toward a political economy of place," American Journal of Sociology
For Discussion On Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Part IV: Infrastructure, Housing and Transportation
Eugenie Ladner Birch, "Woman-made America: the case of early public housing policy," Journal of the American Institute of Planners
Martin Wachs, "Autos, Transit, and the sprawl of Los Angeles: the 1920s," Journal of the American Planning Association
For Discussion On Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Part V: Design, Place, Form and the Environment
Anne Whiston Spirn, "Urban nature and human design: renewing the great tradition," Journal of Planning Education and Research
Scott Campbell, "Green cities, growing cities, just cities? Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development," Journal of the American Planning Association
For Discussion On Tuesday, October 21, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, October 28, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Frumkin, Howard & Lawrence Frank & Richard Jackson. 2004. “What is Sprawl? What Does it Have to Do with Health?” 1-25, in Howard Frumkin & Lawrence Frank & Richard Jackson, Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Robert W. Burchell & Sahan Mukherji. 2003. “Conventional Development Versus Managed Growth: The Costs of Sprawl,” American Journal of Public Health, v93n9 (Sep 2003): 1534-1540.
David J. Ciesiewwicz. “Environmental Impacts of Sprawl.”
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, November 18, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, November 25, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, December 2, 2008
For Discussion On Tuesday, December 9, 2008
[Last Updated: August 21, 2008]