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.
|Assignments and deadlines
||Percent of Grade
||Friday, Feb 28
|Group Project: Presentations
|Group Project: Final Papers
Final Essay Exam (questions handed out April 22)
||April 29 (12:00 noon)
Format and Style Guidelines (READ
- Please use a single staple in the upper left-hand corner. You do NOT
need a cover page. Do NOT staple like a bound book, and do NOT include
a plastic cover. (Those formalities simply make it harder to read your
- Write concise, analytical answers.
- IMPORTANT: Use complete and
correct citations. Refer to all readings used (including course
readings and materials found on the Internet). Incorporate the ideas
from multiple sources (rather than basing your essay on just one
text). You are encouraged to also incorporate ideas from the recommended
readings and/or outside sources.
- The essays are NOT a place to simply create purely descriptive summaries
of the readings. Instead, use your essay as a place to demonstrate
knowledge of the readings, to address critical debates in economic development, and to explore connections between various ideas, arguments and evidence.
- You may strongly agree with the class readings, vehemently object,
be ambivalent, or not be moved either way. In any case, be thoughtful,
reflective, critical and nuanced in your essay answers.
- You are encouraged to discuss the readings and questions with other students. However,
each student is expected to submit his/her own individual, original
- Please double-space your essays, use an easily readable font style (e.g., Times) and font size (e.g., 12 point), with adequate margins.
- additional writing advice
Essay/Analysis #1 (due Jan 30)
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).
- 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.)
- Selling Places: Place marketing emerged as a central theme of contemporary economic development efforts. For some, this emergence of place marketing is a logical and inevitable development of the late-capitalist, post-industrial era and its emphasis on culture, symbols, advertising images, tourism, mass-media, amenity-driven development, attracting the high-tech class, etc. Yet others might be skeptical of this pre-occupation with place marketing, arguing instead for "a return to the basics" in local economic development (that is, focusing on concrete, tangible factors such as infrastructure, education and training, tax rates, land development barriers, productivity, etc.) In your essay, examine this tension. (For example, is it the tension between appearance and reality? façade and structure? "soft" versus "hard" locational factors? the "old economy" vs. the "new economy"? or something else?) What is the role of specific buildings and neighborhoods (e.g., museums, stadiums, waterfront developments, shopping streets, skyscrapers, etc.) in place marketing? In the end, what do you think is the appropriate role of place marketing in economic development?
- Tourism: The study of tourism might suggest "popular culture studies": a focus on an entertaining but frivolous activity. But tourism has emerged as a huge and growing export sector of the economy: it links together architecture, image-making, the marketing of place, local economic development, and questions of historic preservation and authenticity. In your essay, discuss the distinctive characteristics of the tourist sector in the urban context. When is targeting tourism as a local economic development strategy a useful investment? What are the benefits and downsides of tourism promotion?
Essay/Analysis #2 (due Friday, Feb 28 -- by the end of the day)
- 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 indentify what you think are the 2-3 most important transformations.
- 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.).
- Sports Stadiums: In class we posed the question: if most economic impact studies seem to conclude that the costs of public subsidies in professional sports stadiums outweigh the public benefits, why do public officials still support such subsidies? In your essay, analytically explore this apparent paradox. Cite specific studies or projects where appropriate. How might we rethink this issue (and ways to measure the costs and benefits of stadiums) to improve the public debate over stadium subsidies?
- The Arts: What explains the increased interest in the arts as a tool in local economic development? Is this an indication that the arts is an integral part of the late-industrial, creative economy? Or does this interest exaggerate the potential of the arts to stimulate and revitalize local economies? Critically examine the contemporary role of arts-led economic development. Would you recommend that cities increase arts spending as a tool of economic development, and if so, how?
Group Project (due in stages on multiple dates)
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 week of April 15-17, and (c) submit a final written version of their project by the end of the semester (tentative date: April 22). As necessary, we will allocate part of selected class sessions to work on group project tasks. Detailed instructions to follow.
- The primary project is an examination of the broad economic sector of conferences/ conventions/ meetings as a key community economic development driver. Students will review the literature on the economic impact of conferences/ conventions, and assess current and potential demand for conference/ convention facilities in the Ann Arbor region. (This Michigan's Engaging Community through the Classroom (MECC) project involves teams of graduate students from UM's public policy and urban planning programs. The study's sponsor is the Ann Arbor Visitors and Convention Bureau.) With multiple groups working on this issue, we will develop a set of distinct and complementary tasks for each group.
- Student groups have the option of selecting a separate topic not related to the above MECC project. (Such a topic might address domestic or international issues of local or regional economic development.)
[Note: the typical class size for UP538 is 12-20 students. With project groups of 2-4 students, I estimate a total 3-6 groups. Given the considerable institutional and local community interest in the topic of the conference/meeting/convention sector, we would ideally have at least half of the groups work on this topic.]
Take-Home Essay/Final Exam (due April 29, 12:00 noon)
This is a take-home essay exam. Your answers are due no later than 12:00 noon, April 29. (Return the answers to my mailbox or slip them under my office door: 2225C A&AB.) You may refer to books, articles, class notes and readings. However, you are not to discuss this exam with others. Please structure your essay carefully (i.e., think and outline your argument before you write), and illustrate with brief examples where necessary. Be sure to answer each part of the question. Refer to the class readings where appropriate. (If you use direct quotes, place the material inside quotation marks and provide a citation, including the page number. Even if you just summarize material, be sure to cite. See my web page on writing & citation formats.) You will be graded based on your knowledge of the material; the logic, structure and thoughtfulness of your argument; and the fit between the question and your answer. Your answers are short, so be concise; get to the point quickly. Avoid restating platitudes and truisms; instead, strive for analytical rigor (and don't be afraid to note contradictions where necessary). Be sure your answer is double-spaced, with page numbers, and a single staple. Good luck!
Answer one of the following [page limit: 6 - 7 pages, double-spaced, not counting the bibliography]
[questions to be added April 22]