Big Plans: Urban and Regional Land Use Transformations

Professor: Wilson
Units: 0.5
Elective Course

With over half the world living in cities, the processes and challenges of urbanization touch on every aspect of modern society. The convergence of these major environmental, social, and economic trends makes for seemingly intractable challenges. Complex issues such as these have inspired big urban and regional plans that have captured society’s imagination with their technological promise and physical scale of reform, however, there has been growing pushback from community members and social justice advocates about the insensitivity of Big Plans, as well as a shift in urban governance towards private and nongovernmental actors.

Big Plans seemingly have never been more necessary yet have time after time fallen short. This course will examine the land use and zoning decisions that drive so much of urban and regional policy. By exploring a district-scale public and/or private development in the community where they plan to embed, students will:

  • Analyze contemporary state, regional, and local development issues
  • Understand a variety of governance regimes
  • Apply legal and geographic knowledge by mapping zoning in GIS
  • Assess the role of the media, policy advocates, and foundations