All assignments are to be in Word format, Times New Roman, 12pt font, double-spaced, paragraph justified.

Implementation Puzzle

Two-page paper sharing a surprising outcome of an effort to implement either a development project or policy that the student is personally familiar with. Broady, this entails identifying a situation in their professional lives in which they tried to implement a project that seemed to make sense in theory, but proved to have different results in practice. At this stage, students will be asked to identify one or more of the proposed implementation puzzles that come closer to their experience, and will be asked to make a short presentation (10 minutes) sharing the puzzle with their classmates. By reflecting on their own professional experiences in this way (that is, paying attention to their assumptions and surprising instances they have witnessed during their careers), we believe students will be better prepared to engage with the class topics going forward.


Students will complete an extended outline (5-pages), drawing on the implementation surprise selected in the first class. This outline will expand the description of the surprise and should include three plausible alternative explanations on why this might have happened. This assignment should be an intermediary step towards the formulating a full-fledged paper by the end of the semester.

Final Paper

Individual 15–20 pages paper due at the last week of the semester. The paper should be built on the mid-term paper, and focus on one of the three potential explanations given earlier. In writing their final paper, students will be expected to draw from the required and some of the optional readings; or even better, introduce new readings that could make the class better in the future.

Sample Student Work

The Case of Forest City and Singapore (PDF) (Courtesy of an MIT student. Used with permission.)

Urban Villages: Lessons for Village-Centric Urban Growth (PDF) (Courtesy of Mayank Ojha. Used with permission.)

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2015
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples