I teach classes on planning history, theory, and practice, with particular attention to racism and racial justice. I use diverse pedagogy and build skills for reflective practice.
URSP605 Planning History and Theory (Fall 2017, 2018)
This course is structured as an intellectual history of the planning field. We focus on key historical conjunctures in U.S. history and Anglo-American planning traditions. By studying planning thought in its historical context, we cultivate an appreciation for the ways in which planning is a reflection of societal values, our collective definitions of problems of place, and normative visions of the future. Theory is useful because it provides frameworks to make visible the otherwise-invisible expectations, assumptions, and judgments that shape our professional norms, decisions, and actions. In this way, the course aims to cultivate your skills as to be a “reflective practitioner,” who is attentive to these tacit theories that you and others carry. Understanding planning practice and theory as culturally- and collectively-constructed challenges us to consider the ways that historic and current inequities in the distribution of power shape our places. What are the appropriate roles of government, non-governmental organizations, market actors, and individuals? How is planning expertise a reflection of or a force against the inequitable distribution of power? How does planning incorporate ideas of racial and social justice? We will examine these and other questions by reading seminal texts and learning about critical moments in the development of the field of planning. The goal is to place our current practice in its historical and intellectual context. To that end, each week we will identify the ways that the traces of historical thought are evident in contemporary practice.
URSP688x Planning, Policy and Public Education (Fall 2017, 2018)
Public schools have served as a primary instrument to transmit, produce, and reproduce societal values and roles. Research has grappled with the role of schools vis-à-vis broader society, politics, and economy, and by extension, acknowledged the role that non-school institutions play in creating current educational conditions. This course explores the linkages between non-school institutions and public education. We will apply a spatial lens to the study of public education, grappling with the interrelated concepts of place and geography. Examining place focuses on locational specificities bound by jurisdictional lines, and includes characteristics of the built environment; demographic attributes of residents in a particular location; and social, political, economic, and institutional relations of those locations. Analyses of geography may be more abstract and operate at a higher level. They generally encompass larger scales, mobility across jurisdictional boundaries, and are less contingent on the specificities of micro-level built environments and social relationships in a particular location. Using this spatial lens will help deepen understanding of public schools as not only educational, but also social, political, and physical infrastructure. This course will also have a strong focus on practice, and grapple with questions about how policy is made and what barriers or opportunities exist for cross-sector collaboration at all levels of government. I am strongly committed to the relevance of this course for your own intellectual and professional development. The course will challenge you to think about how the readings and concepts can inform and transform your own practice as a planner, educator, and scholar.
URSP600 Qualitative Research Design and Methods for Planners (Spring 2017, 2018)
To adequately manage the wicked problems of planning, we need to grapple not only with quantifiable factors, but also with contextual variation and nuanced human experience of our places. This course explores the common practices of social qualitative research. It plays close attention to the ways that qualitative research can generate meaningful knowledge for planning and policy making, and to the specific research techniques that planners can use in their everyday work. The class is organized around a combination of lectures, discussion, and field exercises. through this course, students will become familiar with the theoretical underpinnings and techniques fo qualitative research. This class also addresses the uses, limitations, and ethical issues of qualitative research.
URSP604 The Planning Process (Spring 2017, 2018)
What is planning? Who are planners? What do planners do? What do they know? Planning is inherently interdisciplinary, touching multiple policy domains in simultaneous, complex and often-conflicting ways. What binds practice and thought is the primacy of place and a commitment to the public interest. But even these concepts are contested. At was scale should we plan? Is there a singular public interest? Facts are often elusive and truths are multiple. Ethical issues arise and evolve constantly. A planner's personal history, approach, and values become central in managing their professional process, procedure, and practices. And all of this is happening in the context of rapidly changing demographics in urban suburban, and rural communities. This course is a first step to take on these big issues and conundrums. We will grapple with question such as: What are different substantive arenas and approaches to planning? How do political, economic, and institutional contexts matter to planning? How do we meaningfully work with, plan for, and engage with others (especially those different from us)? What are the sets of tools were can learn to facilitate a productive, meaningful, and fair planning process, even in situations of conflict. Through reading, large- and small scale- group discussions, guest speakers, case examples, and assignments, we will grapple with historical, political, and personal dimensions of planning practice. The course is less focused on actually doing planning and policy analysis. Rather, the course turns our attention to learning though case examples about the range of methods and tools available to planners, the tradeoffs inherent in choosing some over others, and the political and personal dynamics different processes create. The larger aim is to understand these elements and their limitations in relationship to a broader set of political systems and structures, with attention to race and class power dynamics in the United States.
Design within Reach: Introduction to Principles and Practices of Community Design (Spring 2015)
Community design as a professional field has a long history in architecture and its close relatives: landscape architecture, urban design, and urban planning. This course provides a foundation for understanding how places are made, using community design as a tool for transforming physical spaces; supporting healthy, vital communities; and fostering civic engagement. Through interactive class discussions, personal reflections, case studies, and field exercises we will grapple with the opportunities and tensions for design professionals working with diverse stakeholders. Specifically, we will explore the following questions from a range of perspectives: Why do places look the way they do? How did they get this way? What is the role of professional designers in creating just, inclusive, vibrant places? How do we define community? What is community design and how can it be helpful in managing multiple perspectives to design places?