Land Use: Planning for Equitable and Sustainable Cities (AMSTUD 163, EARTHSYS 168, PUBLPOL 163)

Rich, D. (PI)
Section Number
Approximately 80% of Americans live in urban areas (Source: Statista, 2019) and that percentage is growing. Take a moment to wonder what makes a city, why did it develop that way, and is that a good thing? Why are homes located in a specific area and businesses or factories located in another? How did someone decide where the roads would go, how much park or open space is available to play in and can you easily walk to a bus or train to get to your destination? Did cities develop fairly, equitably, and in a sustainable manner? Answering these questions begins with an exploration of land use, a seemingly technical term that refers to the relationship between humans and the built environment. While 'land use' may not be part of your daily vernacular, everyone has experienced the power of its impact. n nThe goal of land use planning is to maximize the health, safety, and economic well-being of residents in ways that reflect the unique needs, desires, and culture of those who live and work within the community. However, recent events have highlighted growing inequalities in American society. How have government decisions related to land use, growth, and development contributed to these growing inequalities, and can new approaches make society better? n nThis is an introductory course that will review the history and trends of land use policies, as well as address a number of current themes to demonstrate the power and importance of land use. Students will explore how urban areas function, how stakeholders influence land use choices, and how land use decisions contribute to positive and negative outcomes. n nThrough case studies, guest speakers, selective readings and interactive assignments, this survey course seeks to demystify the concept of land use for the non-city planner. By exploring the contemporary history of land use in the United States, students will learn how land use has been used as a tool for discriminatory redlining and NIMBYism. Students will learn about current land use planning efforts that seek to make cities more resilient and equitable to address issues like gentrification, environmental justice, and affordable housing.
Letter or Credit/No Credit
Course Tags
Urban Policy - Electives
Resources, Environment, and Energy Policy
Academic Year