Assignment Six (final project)

link to all assignments

modified: Thursday, November 30, 2017

Urban Planning 585:
Methods of Economic Development Planning

College of Architecture and Urban Planning
University Of Michigan, Fall 2107
Prof. Scott Campbell (home page)


Assignment (+link to assignment page)

Task Concepts/techniques Unit(s) of analysis Group or Individual Task? assignment posted (or earlier) date due (subject to change) Written Format (and suggested page length) Presentation Format percent of grade
6. Final Project a choice of three possible tasks, each structured to encourage you to reflect, synthesize and advance the themes and readings from the semester. individual Dec 1 Dec 19 (end of day) text plus illustrations, tables, graphs, etc. where appropriate

[each student will have 5 minutes on Dec. 12 informally present their draft ideas/outline/format and get feedback]


This final project has two steps:

1.   Tuesday, Dec 12 (last class session): SHORT PRESENTATIONS of Drafts
Bring a one-page draft abstract, outline, or précis  of your approach/outline to answering your question to our final class on Tuesday, Dec. 12 (Please bring 13 copies). Each student will have 5 minutes to briefly introduce their initial ideas (1-2 minutes) and get suggestions from other students. Write your one-pager in a format that encourages useful comments. We will run this session as a workshop, so make the most of your classmates' time and feedback.

2.  Tuesday, Dec 19: FINAL VERSION
Upload the final version of your project to Canvas by the end of the day.


  • The format for your final projects is flexible, and you are encouraged to adapt the format to work effectively with your overall writing strategy. Use the combination of text, tables, graphics, maps, etc. that effectively and concisely delivers your message.
  • Either single-spaced or double-spaced is fine.
  • Page length? Some of your projects may be more text-based, others more graphics or data-based, so there is not fixed length, but I envision final products to be circa 8-15 pages long.
  • Be sure to cite all sources! text, ideas, data, methods, graphics, maps, etc. (Even if you are just borrowing an author’s ideas or organizational typology (e.g., “There are four types of economic development philosophies 1.  2.  3.   4.  “  etc., please still cite. Provide a bibliography/list of references at the end. If your sources are online, provide a complete citation AND a link.
  • OPTIONAL: illustrate your discussion with a specific example (a city or region), perhaps (preferably?) NOT one you used in Assign 2-4, but instead a new city or region. (For example, for Option 2: apply different methodological approaches to a specific case, such as Ann Arbor or Chicago, etc.)

Select one of the three options below.

Option 1: HANDBOOK

Write a short handbook/guidebook that answers the question: "So, you want to research a local or regional economy. What guiding questions, data sources and strategies would you recommend?"

Flexible format (that could combine text, bullet points, graphics, internet links, bibliography, examples). The goal would be to create a document that would be a useful reference both for you and others.  (It could be something you might even post on the web or put in your portfolio.) Strive for the right balance between resource and intellectual content.



Option 2: Place, Firms (Sectors), People (Labor/Demography):

This course has used three different perspectives (i.e., units of analysis, or points of reference) to understand local and regional economies: place, people, firms.

  • Summarize the theories and strategies behind each of the three approaches, including the specific methods and data sources.
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses (insights and blind spots) of each.
  • Select the one that you think is the most useful/powerful/insightful, and make a compelling case why.
  • Does this trio of approaches leave out a fourth perspective? If so, elaborate.


Option 3: What's Missing? Introducing Three Other Approaches/Methods into the Economic Development Planner's Analytical Toolkit

We have focused on common local & regional economic development techniques: economic base, multiplier, LQs, shift-share, measures of high-tech, input-output, simple evaluation, and more descriptive use of both sectoral & occupational data. These approaches commonly appear in the academic and professional literature. But these techniques don’t go far enough to illuminate the crucial dynamics of local & regional economies, e.g., why are some economies more robust, resilient, successful and/or egalitarian than others? Your task:

  • (1) select three methods (either mainstream or alternative ok) that we did NOT cover in class or else only at a basic level.
  • (2) Provide a concise definition, elaboration, and illustrations of how these methods work and their contributions.
  • (3) For each, propose a session (or several sessions) that could be added to the syllabus for a future iteration of this course (URP585), including specific themes, readings, case studies and/or assignments/exercises.