Assignment Four

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modified: Thursday, March 31, 2011 10:57 PM
(see red text below for modifications)

Urban Planning 539:
Methods of Economic Development Planning

College of Architecture and Urban Planning
University Of Michigan, Winter 2011
Prof. Scott Campbell (home page)

Assignment (+link to assignment page)

Task Concepts/techniques assignment posted date due Unit(s) of analysis suggested page length percent of grade
4. Economic Development Policy understand the range, intent and consequences of local economic development strategies (e.g., policies, programs, projects) classification and critique of economic development strategies (policies, programs, projects) Mar 15 Apr 7 paper version + presentation multiple 4 - 5 15

Short Essay. [suggested length: 4 - 5 pages, double-spaced, not counting the bibliography. I would encourage you to use graphics, conceptual maps, etc. where helpful.]

The authors of the course readings have emphasized a wide variety of (sometimes conflicting) elements that may be crucial to creating and sustaining a healthy local economy: a friendly business climate; agglomeration economies; clustering of synergetic firms; a good offering of local amenities to attract a highly educated workforce; low-cost labor and land; a tight network of innovative firms; aggressive economic development tools (e.g., IRBs, TIFs); proximity to universities, research parks, airports, etc.; active neighborhood-based involvement; protectionism; free-trade; to name just a few. (To develop a list of possible ED strategies, scan through the syllabus topics and the list at the bottom of the page. You do NOT need to exhaustively include every last possible ED strategy, but do cover the major ones, especially those we have discussed in class.)

Your task (two parts)

[modified March 31 -- changes/additions in red]

This assignment has two parts. The first is to develop a typology/classification of economic development policies in general. The second is to relate your typology to your two case study cities/regions (using a modest selection of policies/programs from your cases as examples).

ONE: Make analytical sense of this apparently disorganized and messy inventory of economic development strategies. Sort out these various strategies by finding both commonalities and differences between them. ("Strategies" is a broad term, including ED policies, programs, projects, etc.) This may involve finding both clusters of similar strategies and differentiating between distinctly dissimilar strategies. The overall goal is to logically organize and characterize these ED strategies, as if you were writing a really short guidebook (e.g., just as the Peterson Field Guides do for birds or Baedeker did for foreign travel or Richard Saul Wurman does for contemporary cities). There is no single correct answer for this assignment: there are likely a wide range of useful and accurate classification systems of economic development policies.

TWO: Use your typology to represent the economic development policy approaches in your two case study cities/regions. NOTE:you do NOT need to identify and classify all of the policies in your two cases -- that would be far too much work. Instead, simply classify a selective subset of the policies/programs. You may do this either in a narrative (text), table form or graphic form.


Strategies/Approaches for Developing a Typology (i.e., a classification scheme):

You can structure this assignment in several ways. Here are at several possible approaches. Whichever approach you use, please cite sources and examples (e.g., authors, programs, case studies). You may also find that tables and/or graphics -- e.g., a conceptual map -- would be useful. NOTE: some authors may have already employed a typology of programs. For this assignment, I would encourage you to develop a typology of your own (rather than simply repeating someone else's typology). If you do nevertheless borrow some existing distinctions/categories from other sources, please cite them appropriately (see below).

Approach One. Categorize the major themes and policies discussed in this course by defining and contrasting three or four different schools† of local economic development strategies. Explain the basic assumptions, beliefs and favored economic development strategies of each school, and cite examples of each school.

Approach Two. Similar to the first approach, but allowing for overlapping categories.

Approach Three. Identify several (e.g., 3-6) important dimensions of ED strategies (e.g., top-down vs. bottom-up; supply- vs. demand side; exogenous vs. endogenous; people vs. place vs. firm-based; command-and-control vs. market incentive; neo-liberal vs. social democratic; export-base vs. local-base; human- vs. natural- vs. social- vs. financial-capital based; to name but a few). Use these dimensions to characterize various ED strategies. In this framework, two ED strategies may be similar in some dimensions (e.g., both are place-based strategies that seek to attract highly educated outsiders), but divergent in other dimensions (e.g., one is government-funded and focuses on infrastructure; the other is pushed by non-profits and focuses on the natural environment).

Approach Four. Finding clusters. In this approach, the emphasis is on finding shared characteristics. Differences between ED strategies are expressed by distance rather than the demarcation of clearly-defined boundaries.

Use whatever approach works best. The temptation with classification systems is to create mutually-exclusive, exhaustive categories (i.e., every strategy fits into exactly one category). This creates a neat and tidy typology. However, you may find that some strategies cut across different categories and are not tractably content to sit in one category. You should avoid forcing false dichotomies. Develop a system of classification that allows for flexibility and nuance without excessive ambiguity. Or perhaps develop a hybrid of several approaches. (A fifth approach, not graphed below, would be a hierarchical classification system. Prototypes would include the Linnaean taxonomy in biology or a linguistic family tree.)


By "schools" I am implying a set of policies that are similar, e.g., share similar assumptions, approaches, etc. (Just as one might classify artists, architects or musicians by "schools" based on their style, technique, ideology, etc.). From the OED: "A set of persons, who agree in certain opinions, points of behaviour or the like." or "The body of persons that are or have been taught by a particular master (in philosophy, science, art, etc.); hence, in wider sense, a body or succession of persons who in some department of speculation or practice are disciples of the same master, or who are united by a general similarity of principles and methods."



A partial list of economic development policies & strategies

industrial revenue bonds enterprise zones reduce environmental regulations
tax increment financing research parks casinos
import substitution university-industry partnerships attract a new state prison
improve local education technology assistance center toughen environmental regulations
job retraining promote international trade build a freeway
infrastructure investment protectionism of local industries improve internet access in community
business advertisement tourism promotion impose linkages on development (developers pay into a fund for housing and community dev.)
community development corporations (CDC) build a ballpark business incubator centers
reduce taxes expand the local airport "Main Street" revitalization through new building facades, sidewalks, BIDs, etc.
raise taxes build a light-rail mass transit system build public housing


PRESENTATION on Thursday, April 7

• BEFORE CLASS (by Thursday morning at 9 am), each group should upload (into their ctools dropbox) ONE powerpoint slide that visualizes / illustrates the most interesting aspects of your findings for Assignment 4. Notes: (a) no need to exhaustively include all your results; just illustrate the most interesting and/or important. (b) Don't just post a huge list of terms in tiny (unreadable) fonts. Be creative, illuminating, thoughtful. I will put the slides together for presentation.

• Be ready to briefly (2-3 minutes) discuss how you approached and organized your assignment.




As with all assignments, use complete and correct citations (really small footnotes or references fine -- or perhaps use footnotes on one page and have a separate "sources" page). Refer to all sources used (including data, maps, images, tables, graphs, course readings and materials found on the Internet). Please familiarize yourself with standard practice of academic integrity in coursework. --> See this link for complete information.