Online Blog - Research and Reflective Practice

Research and Reflective practice is an ongoing goal of the class. An online blog and class discussion will be used to help students understand the culture, identity, of Valparaíso. In addition, the online blog is intended to deepen your understanding of some of the core issues of planning practice.

Students will be expected to keep a blog where reflection assignments will be completed weekly. These assignments are geared to explore issues faced by planners during the planning process as well as document student professional growth and experiences working in multi-disciplinary teams. Many of the reflection exercises will focus on the following themes and questions:

  • How are you combining your values, education and actions in complex situations in the professional work of the class?
  • How are you learning from experiences? How are your experiences shaping your view of what it means to be good planner and what you need to be effective as a planner?
  • What are the key issues, opportunities and challenges of your project? How are these similar to and different from other planning problems?

Prompts for the blog entries will be published on the homepage of the blog on the second session of each week. Blog entries should be posted no later than the following session. In the event of any technical issues posting to the blog, entries should be emailed to the TA. Entries that are not on the blog or emailed by this deadline will be considered late.

Since there are likely to be times when student course load is overwhelming, each student will be able to skip two (2) blog posts without penalty. There is no need to notify the professor or TA in advance if and when a blog post is skipped; however, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of how many posts they have skipped. More than two missing blog posts will negatively affect grading.

Note: The class blog is not available to OCW users. 

Disaster Mitigation Plans, Planners and Policies

In preparation for international fieldwork, students will explore and analyze a mitigation plan in a U.S. city or town.

Effective memo writing examples (PDF - 1.15MB)

Deliverable: 5-page memo on a disaster mitigation plan.

Field Research and Report - Detailed research, analysis and planning in priority areas on-the-ground results

In this second phase, student teams will undertake in-depth research, analysis and design in project areas in Valparaíso. Once on the ground, students need to understand the requirements needed to realize goals and opportunities of the projects by assessing existing resources and assets, identifying critical obstacles and resources gaps to address, and defining other factors that shape effective strategies and interventions to generate the client’s desired revitalization goals for the district.

While specific research tasks will depend on the project and the client, tasks may include conducting interviews with key stakeholders, surveying existing district customers and businesses, researching applicable zoning and regulatory obstacles, investigating design options, identifying best practices used in comparable neighborhoods/districts, and analyzing potential resources for implementation.

Based on this detailed research, students will develop findings and recommendations for their final report.

Background Valparaíso Case

Deliverable: 5–7 page Field Report

Poster & Presentation

Create a poster about your project. Your poster should speak to the planning issue(s) in New Orleans that you are researching and writing about. What question can you ask that will pull a reader into your poster and get him/her thinking about your project? What issues are you working on? What data have you gathered? What story can you tell about your planning issue in New Orleans?


Alternatively, create a poster for your client’s needs. This poster could inform neighborhood groups about a particular planning issue. This poster could graphically showcase how citizens can understand design standards easily and efficiently, and/or this poster could help citizens understand the importance of using public transportation. In other words, it could be used as part of a community campaign to bring attention to a planning issue in New Orleans. Posters will be made part of an exhibit that showcases the work of our students working in New Orleans. Posters should be 20”x30”, either direction.

Please upload a copy of your PowerPoint presentation as well as a one-page handout that stands on its own in terms of explaining your presentation. The presentation should include visuals (graphics, images, charts, maps, etc.) as much as possible.