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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel G. Kleit
URBDP 560
Seattle Campus

Inequality, Governance, and Policy in the Metropolitan Region

Explores national/local urban policy concerning the major problems confronting cities and metropolitan regions today. Economic globalization, income inequality, and metropolitan decentralization shape the urban agenda, the context for urban policy, and the analytic focus of the course. A project allows the exploration of strategies for intervention. Offered: jointly with PB AF 560.

Class description

Fundamentally, this course is about allowing you to fill in the gaps in your knowledge of urban affairs and helping you obtain skills and information that may be useful to you during your professional career. By the end of the course, you will be able to: Explain the major trends in metropolitan growth, decentralization, political fragmentation, spatial and social stratification, and economic transformation that are shaping urban areas and their governance into the 21st century; Demonstrate your ability to distill a broad urban problem into a key element that one can address through policy; Critically evaluate previous, present, and future policy solutions from differing political and cultural perspectives, including their impact on economic and social inequality; Use skills and knowledge gleaned from previous course work, professional and life experiences, and peers to analyze urban problems and proposed solutions; With a team of peers, use written and oral communication to clearly and succinctly analyze problems and argue for solutions.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The class combines readings, local policy examples, mini-lectures, class discussions and exercises, and guest lecturers. The goal is to facilitate the synthesis of knowledge and application of your skills in a way that mirrors the process in which you may participate during your professional career: identifying a problem, lobbying to get it on the agenda of the relevant decision-making body, developing a strategy for intervention that is based on a clear understanding of the dimensions of the problem, and dealing with the issues of implementing and evaluating the strategy. To that end, we will follow a basic framework for each topic in class, answering these questions: What is the problem and why should we (or others) care about it? What are the major economic, social, or political trends that influence the problem? What policy solutions or legislative actions have been taken to deal with the problem? What have the outcomes been? Who are the people or institutions who are concerned about this problem, and why do they care? What are their key points of contention or agreement? What is the key dimension of the problem upon which to focus solutions in the future? On what basis would we say that a policy solution has been a success? For whom is it a success? For whom does it fail? Classes will demonstrate the process of using this framework to think through an urban problem; written and oral assignments will allow you to employ it. We will spend the first five weeks or so of class analyzing urban problems, their history and stakeholders. We will devote the last five weeks to analysis of proposed and actual solutions. Two class sessions are set aside for topics that may arise during the course of the class. Together we will develop a reading list for those days as the course progresses.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rachel G. Kleit
Date: 09/23/2004