11.947 | Spring 2004 | Graduate

Sustainable Economic Development

Lecture Notes

Part I: Courses and Project Introduction; Sustainable Development Concepts and Theory
1 Introduction to Course We will preview course content and provide an overview of core themes and issues.
2 Introduction to Sustainable Developments Concepts and Theory This session introduces some of the core concepts, issues and frameworks of sustainable development. We will emphasize ways in which planners think about sustainability in light of economic and environmental challenges and explore applications to practicum projects.
3 Concepts and Theory: Brownfields and Neighborhood Development We will explore sustainable development as it applies to the neighborhood or local scale in this session. Focusing on brownfields and community economic development, we will examine specific approaches to advancing sustainability in a community planning setting. This session will also consider different perspectives on business development in immigrant communities.

Market Analysis (PDF)

4 Concepts and Theory: Industrial Ecology and Green Development How do sustainable development strategies apply to industrial and economic development? This session will examine the concepts of industrial ecology and green development and emerging frameworks for designing everything from products and services to cities.
Part II: Existing Conditions Analysis and Formulating Plan Agenda
5 Brownfields, Economic Base Analysis, and Indicators Part II of the class represents the first phase of our planning work during which key tools and analytical approaches are presented to support an assessment of existing conditions. A full day field trip is scheduled, which begins the research and assessment activities on existing conditions. This part concludes with in-class presentations of summary findings and their integration into a proposed agenda for the class plan.

This class will review several tools used for environmental and economic analysis of an area. Issues and data sources for identifying brownfield sites and other environmental risks are presented along with a simple framework for conducting an economic base analysis. We will also consider the use of indicators to measure and track sustainability.

Economic Base Analysis (PDF)

FT Field Trip to Sites Designated day outside class to meet with the client, begin the existing conditions analysis and collect data. The class will be divided up into teams with assignments. The class will reconvene and discuss each team’s findings and their implications for further research, as well as brainstorm potential issues and opportunities.
6 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects For this session, we will review how each team plans to apply the environmental and economic assessment methods from Session 5 to their project.
7 Research Methods: Waste Streams/Emissions and Industry and Cluster Analysis How do planners, citizens, and other stakeholders access information about pollution and other environmental health issues in their communities? How do they better understand the industrial activities occurring around them? This session will review some methods for acquiring and interpreting this information.
8 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects This class is devoted to applying the issues and research methods from Session 7 to the projects.
9 Environmental Justice Issues and Market Analysis This session will explore ways to apply environmental justice principles and strategies to community economic development planning approaches. We will look at different techniques for incorporating environmental justice considerations into community planning and how they fit within a sustainable development framework.
10 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects This class is devoted to applying the issues and research methods from Session 9 to the projects.
11 Presentation on Preliminary Findings (Team 1) The goals for this and the next session are threefold: (1) get each team to consolidate its analysis and interpret its meaning for the project; (2) vet and refine each team’s analysis, ideas and proposals; and (3) gain feedback on the presentation organization, clarity and ways to enhance it. One project team will have 30 to 40 minutes to present their existing conditions findings, implications for the project and the initial proposals for the plan focus and agenda. The second half of the class will be used to discuss the analysis and findings and offer feedback prior to the client meeting.
12 Presentation on Preliminary Findings (Team 2) The second project team will present and gain feedback on their existing conditions findings, implications for the project and the initial proposals for the plan focus and agenda.
13 Feedback, Synthesize, and Reflect This is an additional session to discuss and synthesize each team’s plan agenda and initial elements from preliminary findings. With classmates and professors, students will reflect on the challenges, issues, and obstacles raised by their work.
Part III: Plan Building Blocks: Environmental and Economic Development Polices and Interventions
14 Technology Transfer, Green Design, and Industrial Ecology Technology is an important vehicle for advancing both economic development and environmental goals. New technologies are platforms for the development of new products and industries that generate jobs, wealth and income, and they can produce significant environmental improvements. In many cases, the challenge is not finding technologies but expanding the use of existing technologies that can improve environment and business performance but which face barriers to adoption by local firms, organizations and households. This session presents frameworks and specific polices and practices used to advance the commercialization of technologies by firms and development projects, with a special emphasis on the adoption of environmentally sustainable technology.
15 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects The focus of this session is how the technology, green building and industrial ecology approaches discussed in Session 14 might be incorporated into each team’s plans.
16 Brownfields and Real Estate Development In this session we’ll examine the unique challenges and issues associated with assessing, cleaning up, and reusing contaminated land, and the legal and policy tools designed to promote this. What do brownfields policies and programs look like and what do they do?
17 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects The focus of this session is how the brownfields and real estate approaches discussed in Session 16 might be incorporated into each team’s plans.
18 Small Business Development and Land Use Planning Small business development and land-use regulation are two critical areas of planning practice that shape the character of local communities and neighborhoods. This class provides an overview of the key issues and primary interventions used to shape the type of businesses and land uses developed within a community and their economic and environmental outcomes. Special attention is paid to two emerging themes: (1) reversing the environmental and economic consequences of sprawl; and (2) leveraging growth and neighborhood benefits from small firms. We will also consider the inter-relationship of these two practice areas.
19 Apply Previous Class Content to Projects This session is devoted to discussing how to incorporate the small business development and land-use planning interventions discussed in Session 18 into each team’s plans.
Part IV: Plan Formulation
20 Initial Ideas During this in-class working session, teams will seek to clarify and prioritize ideas and goals for their project areas.
21 Elements of a Plan Working with the list of goals and ideas, each team will develop elements of the plan during this working session.
22 Synthesize Teams will synthesize final plans through the integration of key findings, themes and recommendations developed in assignments and outside work throughout the semester.
23 Refine and Practice Each team will have 30 minutes to present the key elements and concepts of its recommendations. Discussion will offer feedback on presentation style, clarity and effectiveness of graphics, and content of draft recommendations.
24 Refine and Practice (cont.) An in class working session with more opportunity for professor and student feedback provides an opportunity for teams to refine their plans based on the draft presentation.
25 Reflection A discussion of the meaning of sustainable development, the planner’s role, the working process, what tools and practices helped gain and “coproduce” community knowledge, areas of frustration, and lessons learned will seek to contribute to the students’ experience with reflective planning practice.
26 Final Projects Due Three copies of the final report/plans are due.