Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

"The old planning model, rooted in nineteenth-century concepts of science and engineering, is either dead or severely impaired.... Non-Euclidian Planning is decentered, privileging regions and localities.... It encourages the affected population to take an active part, and, thus, validates the experiential knowledge of ordinary people and promotes mutual learning between the planning expert and the affected population.... Non-Euclidian planning operates in real time by linking knowledge and action into a tightly looped process of strategic change.... Though planners remain free to choose, action in the public domain should be justified as that which furthers the cause of human flourishing and diversity throughout the world."
John Friedmann, 1993

This subject explores the techniques, processes, and personal and professional skills required to effectively manage growth and land use change. While primarily focused on the planning practice in the United States, the principles and techniques reviewed and presented may have international application. This course is not for bystanders; it is designed for those who wish to become actively involved or exposed to the planning discipline and profession as it is practiced today, and as it may need to be practiced in the future.

The fundamentals of the land use planning and growth management system are explored. Discussion and review of both traditional and innovative approaches to land use planning and growth management will occur, with emphasis on participatory processes and performance-based systems. Examples of the tools and techniques utilized at the local, regional, and state level of government will also be presented and evaluated.

A major focus of the course involves student work on a client-based land use planning project in Medford Massachusetts. The project will enable students to draw upon and apply a variety of approaches and interventions explored in the course and readings. (See attached "Scope of Work" for description of client-based project.)

Class sessions employ lectures, discussions of readings, case materials, role-playing exercises, and student presentations. A reader containing journal articles, papers, and other written works relevant to contemporary planning practice and the evolution of the discipline supplements class session topics and discussion. Where appropriate to specific topics, guest speakers will present to the class and join in class discussion.

No prior training or experience in physical planning or urban design is assumed, although it is advantageous. Some exposure to imaging software and GIS is helpful. There is no final examination required for completion of the course. In addition to classwork, each student will be required to participate, as a project team member, in the preparation of a project for an actual client.

Student evaluations will be principally based upon contributions to the community planning project, including the preparation of the final plan report, participation in mid-term and final presentations of the plan to the client and others, and submission of a short "synthesis paper" about the planning project. Participation in class discussion will also be a significant factor in final grade evaluations.