Urban Planning 538:  Economic Development Planning  Winter 2015

Assignments

last updated Thursday, January 22, 2015 11:49 AM

Prof. Scott Campbell (home page)
College of Architecture and Urban Planning
University Of Michigan
sdcamp@umich.edu
office:  2225C A&AB
(734) 763-2077



Students are expected to complete all the required readings before the scheduled class time, actively participate in class discussions and presentations, and complete several written assignments over the semester.  Evaluation of your work will be based on substantive content, analytical rigor, and writing quality.  Be sure to follow appropriate citation guidelines in all your work. Late assignments will result in point reductions.


Format and Style Guidelines (READ CAREFULLY):

 


Assignment #1: Short Essay (due Feb 3)

Answer ONE of the questions below. Read the instructions above about format and style. Use class readings to support your argument. (Feel free to refer to other sources as well.) Page length: 5-6 pages (not counting the bibliography).

  1. development vs. growth: Planners often assert that they are promoting local and regional economic "development," not just "growth." That distinction sounds appealing, but what does it actually mean? Begin by defining and differentiating growth and development, and examine the implications of this distinction for economic planning efforts. What exactly (e.g., jobs, income, city size, etc.) is being "grown" vs. "developed"? (The Flammang article is a useful reference here, but do also examine how the two terms are used -- both implicitly and overtly -- in other readings and contexts as well.)
  2. Place-based policies: BIDs, enterprise zones (and their variations), and TIFs are examples of place-based economic development strategies. Pick two of these strategies and compare (e.g., the best — and worst — contexts for implementation; funding mechanisms; track record for effectiveness; distributional consequences; opportunity for abuse, etc.).
  3. The university as an economic entity: Public universities are changing in numerous ways: decline in state support, tuition increases, greater emphasis on entrepreneurship and outcome measures, increased efforts to link to global institutions, etc. In your essay, examine the changing role of universities in local and regional (and state) economic development. (For example: Should we primarily see the university's economic role attracting and training (and retaining) educated labor, as a partner in industry-university research collaborations, as a local land developer, as increasing the purchasing power in the local economy, etc? Is the large research university the new engine of high-tech growth?) To help focus your essay, you might identify what you think are the 2-3 most important transformations.

 


Assignment #2: Local Economic Portrait (due Feb 26)
A Detailed Economic Portrait of a Small Urban (or Suburban, or Small Town) Space (e.g., a block, a street, a strip, etc.)
Preference: Please work in groups of two. (You do have the option of working alone.)

**Please list your group members and location on this google drive document by Feb 3.

Local economic activities are embedded in place: in the buildings, streets, sidewalks of neighborhoods. Select a specific location, such a one-block segment of a commercial street, a block, a commercial strip, an industrial zone, etc. The area should be big enough to provide a substantive set of economic activities but small enough to be easily documented, visualized and analyzed. Be sure to clearly delineate your area on a map.

Your task: document and analyze the characteristics and dynamics of the economic activities and impacts of your selected area. Are these locally-serving businesses or part of the "economic base" (e.g., where do the customers come from; where are products shipped)? What are the demographics of the employees and customers? What trends do you see in the area (e.g., decline, transformation, gentrification, stability, etc.)? What visual clues provide evidence of economic conditions and changes? What are the biggest opportunities and challenges in the area? etc. (Strive for a vivid, insightful, multi-dimensional representation of the place.)

Possible sources and formats of evidence:
* visual representation of the site: photographs, drawings, plans, observation, graphics, drawings
* interviews with people on the street
* expert interviews (with shopkeepers, business owners, local community development staff, etc.)
* secondary data (Census data, etc.)
* newspaper stories etc.
* public documents and data (e.g., plans, tax data, etc.)
* public meetings, planning hearings, etc.
* other sources

Format of assignment:
presentation (on Feb 19) and submitted written material. [details to be added]

 


Assignment #3: Summary Essay on Course Themes (due April 9)

Answer one of the following [page limit: 6 - 7 pages, double-spaced, not counting the bibliography]

[3-5 questions to be posted by late March]

 


Assignment #4: Group Project (Project Proposal Feb 10; Draft Mar 31; Presentations Apr 16 & 21; final written version due Apr 28)

Students will work in small teams (ca. 2-4 students each) to examine a specific local economic development challenge in detail. Each group will (a) develop a set of interim deadlines for completing stages of the project; (b) present their results in class during the last week of the semester, and (c) submit a final written version of their project by the end of the semester (April 28). As necessary, we will allocate part of selected class sessions to work on group project tasks. Detailed instructions to follow.

SUGGESTED PROJECT TOPICS:
Topics might address domestic or international issues of local or regional economic development. You have broad discretion regarding methodology: you might do an economic impact study; a historical analysis; a comparative analysis; policy evaluation; a theoretical exploration, etc. Your unit(s) of analysis might be a neighborhood, city, or region; an establishment, firm or sector; a plan or policy; a demographic group; a social problem; etc. Regardless of the topic, be sure to organize your project around a specific research or policy question, with a clear strategy for gathering evidence (quantitative or qualitative), developing your analysis and drawing conclusions.

HIGHLIGHTED PROJECT FOR THIS SEMESTER: "Detroit Advanced Manufacturing Supplier Park"
Each year we promote a specific group project topic. (Last year several groups examined the feasibility and impacts of building a major conference center in Ann Arbor). We have been approached this year by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor to explore the idea of a new "Detroit Advanced Manufacturing Supplier Park," with a focus on bringing job training, jobs and innovation opportunities for Detroit residents. Students who choose this path will benefit by collaborating with CAR research staff and having access to extensive research, data and contacts on the topic. I will provide more information in class in late January.

A few other possible ideas: Evaluation of the Michigan Film Subsidy Program; the Economics of Fracking in Local Communities; the Economics of Green Jobs; Gentrification and the Ann Arbor Housing Market; the Changing Landscape of SE Michigan Auto Employment and Suppliers; a case study of an arts district; a case study of an innovation district (e.g., a biotech cluster); the economic impact of a new sports stadium; the employment impact of the local foods movement; the economic consequences of the Keystone Pipeline on a single community (e.g., in Nebraska);the local economic impact of marijuana legalization (e.g., in a Colorado town); economic impact of hosting the Olympics; etc.

Last years' group projects included: Innovation Districts in Detroit; Economic Development Role of Universities (cases in Latin America, China, Taiwan, Korea); Economic Feasibility of Building a Conference Center in Ann Arbor; College Town Economic Impacts (Athens GA and South Bend IN); Detroit Start-ups/Pop-Ups.

To help form groups and explore ideas, I have created this google document (that you have have permission to edit). Please informally use this document to list possible ideas google drive document, Table 1

 

STEP 1: Project Proposal (Feb 10)
A. Enter a brief summary of your project (here on this google drive document, Table 2).
B. Write a one page project proposal (group members, title, research or policy question, problem statement, methodology, and proposed table of content) and upload it to this google drive folder. File name should be in this format: projectname (last names of group members). E.g., "Michigan Film Subsidies (Kim, Schmidt, Johnson)"

 

STEP 2: Draft Paper (March 31)
Turn in a draft version of your project. This provides an incentive to complete as much work as possible before the end of semester rush (including the initial integration of various sections and a draft set of conclusions). It also provides an opportunity to receive substantive feedback to incorporate into your presentation and final versions. (Comments will be returned by April 7).

 

STEP 3: Class Presentations (April 16 +21)

Format for Presentation
We have set aside two class sessions (April 16 + 21) for presentations.  Depending on the total number of groups, each group will have about 15-20 minutes for formal presentations and to respond to questions.  The classroom (2210 A&AB) has both video and audio.

Feedback to Groups on Presentations
All students are expected to attend both presentation days. I will provide feedback forms for you to fill out and return to each group following their presentation. Briefly provide useful advice, such as: areas to expand; points to clarify; arguments requiring evidence or logical rethinking; tacit themes/arguments emerging from the presentation worthy of highlighting; overall strengths and weaknesses of the presentation.

 

STEP 4: Written Report (due April 28)

Format for Written Report
Length:   a suggested length of 16 - 28 double-spaced pages for text (not counting statistical graphics, maps and other visuals) -- likely more for narrative-rich historical and case study work; less for data-intensive work.  This limit is flexible.   I put a relatively modest page number to make you focus on a tight, concise analysis, rather than to write a lengthy research paper.    Obviously, larger groups will create longer reports.

Style and Organization: Organize your project around a specific, engaging question. A clear structure, a strong narrative, and a logical sequence of analytical steps will lead to a strong final product. Though a common strategy for group projects is to divide the work into separate sections, be sure to allocate time before the deadline to integrate the sections together into a coherent, seamless whole. Pay attention to your "writing voice": for example, differentiate between your own analysis and summaries of other analyses. Strive for systematic and crisp analysis and clear transitions between sections. More advice here (Section 1: "1. Advice for Better Academic Writing").

Citations: Be sure to cite ALL sources (of text, ideas, data, maps, images, etc.). See these guidelines.

Integration of narrative, analytical logic and data tables/charts: Edit and revise to have these three elements of your report support each other.


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