Sociology 601: Urban Policy and Planning

Spring 2002. Wednesdays, 1:00-3:30.

123 Newcomb Hall

Professor: Kevin F. Gotham
Sociology: 220 Newcomb Hall
Phone: 862-3004.
Office Hours: 3:30 - 5:00, MF, all other times by appointment.

Course Description.
In the last few decades, a growing number of critical scholars have emphasized the embeddedness of urban policy and planning within concrete socioeconomic processes, power structures, and the underlying material social relations. In this course, we will examine how urban planning efforts and government polices and programs have affected U.S. cities and metropolitan areas over the last hundred years or so. Drawing on normative and analytic approaches, we will explore traditional, mainstream, and radical planning theories and policy critique. You will be introduced to how social science research methods play a critical role in identifying the causes and consequences of urban problems as well as evaluating urban policy. By learning to think sociologically you will be able to criticize faulty explanations of urban and metropolitan problems and critically evaluate suggested planning and policy solutions. Some of the questions we will address are: What is the purpose of urban planning and policy? How do governmental programs and policy making affect cities and metropolitan areas? Who controls the formulation and implementation of urban planning and policy? What kinds of conflicts and struggles have historically affected public policy at the urban, regional, and national levels? How do global forces, national policies, and local programs influence the trajectory of inequality in cities? What is the relationship between theory, research, and planning/policy? Finally, we will discuss the merits of metropolitan planning and consider alternative forms of urban design and policy in an effort to understand why urban programs fail, what ideologies govern metropolitan growth and uneven development, and how we can improve metropolitan life.

Required Prerequisite: Nine credits of sociology or approval of instructor.

Recommended Prerequisites: Soc. 206 (Urban Sociology), Soc. 303 (Introduction to Research Design).

Required Reading:

Campbell, Scott, and Susan Fainstein (editors). 1998. Readings in Planning Theory. Blackwell Publishers.

Cummings, Scott. 1998. Left Behind in Rosedale: Race Relations and the Collapse of Community Institutions. Westview Books.

Dreier, Peter, John Mollenkopf, and Todd Swanstrom. 2001. Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century. University of Kansas Press.

Fainstein, Susan, and Scott Campbell (editors). 1996. Readings in Urban Theory. Blackwell Publishers.

Orfield, Gary, and Susan E. Eaton (editors). 1996. Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education. New Press.

Course Requirements
The course will follow a seminar format that combines lecture material and group discussion. It is essential that each student complete the readings before each class session and come prepared to discuss the material. All students are required to attend every class period unless they are ill or prevented from attending by exceptional circumstances. Preparedness, attendance and participation are expected and will have a bearing on final grades. I do not give extra credit, extra assignments, nor other opportunities for improving grades. Requirements for this course include an individual research project, an in-class presentation of the research project, a series of critical essays, and class attendance and participation.

1. Individual Research Project (40 percent of final grade).
You will design and carry out a research project of your own choosing that has to do with cities and urban life. The final research paper must be at least 20 pages excluding the cover page, references, and tables and figures. Papers are to be typed and double-spaced with one inch margins and page numbers in the top right hand corner. Address your final paper to an audience composed of people who know nothing of the material you read, the concepts you use, and data you have collected. A two-page, double-spaced proposal is due Wednesday, January 30. The final project is due Wednesday, May 1. Projects will be graded on a scale of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D-. One letter grade will be deducted for each day the research project is late.

You may design and conceptualize the research project in one of three ways.

1. Urban Policy Focus. Trace the history of one major government program or policy in the United States and discuss its effects on at least two major cities. General areas to look are anti-crime policy, housing policy, environmental policy, land use regulation, transportation policy, urban development, tourism and place marketing, anti-poverty policy, education policy, energy policy, military and defense spending, health care, and so on. Some specific federal programs might include public housing, urban renewal, the home mortgage programs of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA), Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG), enterprise and empowerment zones, the interstate highway program, and so on. Your research must be comparative and identify the similarities and differences between the cities. Comparative work means that you can show that you are aware of each city's demographic and population characteristics, economic base, infrastructure and government system, and social problems. You must identify the origins of the program, the motivation underlying its creation, changes in the implementation of the program over time, and the results and negative consequences of the program for cities. Discuss the current status of the program and its future prospects. Explain how cities and policy makers can benefit from your research.

2. Urban Case Study Focus. Pick a city of at least 250,000 people and discuss the impact of at least two major government programs/policies on the history and development of that city over the last 50 years. You should focus broadly, examining the connectedness and interlocking nature of the policies and their affect on the city. Your research should be problem-centered, identifying why the policies were developed, what different groups supported and opposed the policies, and how the policies were implemented. Some urban problems to focus on might include racial discrimination and residential segregation, jobs and immigration, crime control and drugs, poverty and homelessness, schools and property taxes, neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation, economic development and NIMBYs, disinvestment and redlining, and so on. You could study the links between urban problems in the following areas: urban design and planning, housing and real estate, transportation, urban politics, suburban sprawl and uneven development, etc. Discuss the obstacles the city faces in addressing and remedying these problems. Explain how the city and policy makers could benefit from your research.

3. Urban Planning and Land-Use Focus. In this research you will trace the history of three major components of urban planning and land-use in the twentieth century: zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and Master Plans and discuss their changing effects on metropolitan areas. You can pick one city (case study focus) or two or more cities (comparative focus) to investigate. Different cities have implemented zoning, subdivision regulations, and Master Plans over time and there are considerable differences between cities. Use the five questions on pp. 5-9 of the Readings in Planning Theory (edited by Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein) to guide you in your research and data collection. Your grade on this research project will depend on how well you connect the course readings - e.g., concepts, theories, and related academic knowledge about cities and urban planning - with your research and data collection. Your paper must describe how the three forms of planning have been traditionally used in the United States, identify the forms of conflict that have historically affected these forms of planning, and show which academic planning theories and political ideologies have informed both past and present planning efforts. Finally, your paper must explain how the three components of urban planning and land-use connect to recent attempts in the U.S. to establish metropolitan-wide systems of government/governance, remedy political fragmentation, and create better living conditions.

Do not delay in your choice of topic and starting your research. Data collection for the research project must be based on assigned course readings and the following library and documentary resources: scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, congressional testimony, archival material, planning department documents, government reports and analyses, census bureau data, books, and other written documents. You should search for data at all available libraries, archives, internet web sites, and anywhere else you can find material. In addition to references in the required reading for the class, you should also explore articles in the following journals and annuals for your research project.

Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research (available at:
Housing Policy Debate (available at:
Comparative Urban Research
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Journal of Urban Affairs
Journal of Urban Economics
Journal of Urban History
Regional Studies
Research in Urban Sociology (annual)
Research in Community Sociology (annual)
Research in Urban Policy (annual)
Sage Urban Studies Abstracts
Urban Affairs Annual Review
Urban Affairs Quarterly/Review
Urban Anthropology
Urban Land
Urban Life (Journal of Contemporary Ethnography)
Urban Review
Urban Studies
Urbanism Past and Present

In addition, sociology journals (e.g., American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, Sociological Spectrum, Sociological Focus, Sociological Forum, Annual Review of Sociology) frequently have important articles on urban issues.

You may not use interviews, surveys and questionnaires, focus groups, participant observation, or any other forms of original data collection that involve human subjects. You may cite and refer to other researchers' studies on human subjects (as secondary sources). Be sure to make appropriate reference citations to other authors' work when quoting directly from them and when paraphrasing them, otherwise you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

All students are required to abide by the Tulane University Honor Code. This means that "the presence of a student's name on any work submitted in completion of an academic assignment is considered to be an assurance that the work and ideas are the result of the student's own intellectual effort, stated in her or his own words, and produced independently, unless clear and explicit acknowledgment of the sources for the work and ideas is included. This principle applies to papers, tests, homework assignments, artistic productions, laboratory reports, computer programs, and other assignments" (Tulane Undergraduate Catalog 1999-2001, p. 15).

Sample Outline for Research Paper. Your final paper should be divided up into the following six sections:

Indicate clearly and briefly what the purpose of the research is. Briefly identify the major issues or problems the paper addresses and the major sources of data used in the paper. Very briefly and succinctly state the core findings of the paper and how the paper will be organized. Do not report on every little detail and finding; be short, clear, and to the point. This introduction section should be no more than three pages.

Literature Review
Briefly summarize the current sociological research on the urban policy or program you are studying. You should include other scholars' empirical findings, concepts, and theories that link your study with existing scholarly research on the same topic.

Sociological Analysis
Provide a general overview of your theoretical argument and then discuss the major findings of your research and data collection. You should show how your findings support your theory and relate to findings of other researchers. Refer to scholarly journals for examples on how to write your findings and implications. This section can be sub-divided into separate units.

Discuss the research implications of your research and its relevance and importance to urban sociology. You should offer suggestions for future research.

You must have at least 15 citations in your reference section.

Methodological Appendix
Provide a description of how the research was done. You should identify the types and sources of data collected. You should draw upon written histories, archives, census materials, newspaper files, planning department documents, and any other sources you can locate. You should include data in tables, graphs, and/or figures if you have large amounts of quantitative data. Put each table, graph, or figure on a separate page with a descriptive title over it. In the text of the research paper, refer to the table or figure by number and then explain it.

2. Oral Presentation of Research Project (20 percent of final grade).
All students are required to present their research during a scheduled class period. The length of the presentation should be no more than 15 minutes. Students should prepare and rehearse their presentation to do it smoothly and not exceed the time limit. Make your presentation using an outline or note cards; do not prewrite your whole presentation and then read it. The purpose of the oral presentation is to show that you understand key concepts, definitions, main findings, and can effectively communicate your research to a group of peers. Here are suggestions for oral presentation of the research paper:

(a) indicate what your research topic is and why you chose it (why you felt it was interesting and important).
(b) State your main finding(s).

(a) describe how you did your research (if you relied on books and library references, indicate the most useful ones; if you consulted planning documents and government reports, indicate which ones; etc.).
(b) If you had preconceived expectations, opinions, or hypotheses about what you would find out, state what they were.
(c) Describe special problems or difficulties that hindered or limited your research.

(a) Describe the most important thing(s) you found out or learned about your topic.
(b) Consider the use of charts, tables, illustrations, etc. to make your presentation findings more effective.

(a) In what ways were you surprised by your findings, or did they confirm what you expected?
(b) Make connections between your research findings and the concepts, theories, and findings we have discussed in class.
(c) Identify any unanswered questions from your research that could be researched in the future.

For an effective presentation, you should prepare a one-page handout to be distributed to the class the day before your presentation. It may contain an outline of your whole presentation or you can use it to communicate key concepts, findings, illustrations, and bibliographic references. Remember that you only have 15 minutes to present your work. Do not ramble; be as succinct as possible.

3. Critical Essays (30 percent of final grade).
Critical Essays are short papers (about 3 pages) that convey your thoughts about and reactions to a particular reading assignment. Students are required to write eight critical essays on the assigned reading during the semester. You are required to post your critical essay to the class discussion board (listserv) at least 24 hours before class (1:30 on Tuesday). The name of the listserv is urbanpolicy-l. Each student should read each essay and come to class ready to discuss. Critical Essays should accomplish the following two goals:

1. Reflect your thoughtful engagement with and consideration of the reading assignment.
2. Include questions or issues that you would like to have the class discuss.

Here are questions to guide your thinking about the reading and completing the critical essays:
What are the central arguments in the reading?
What evidence does the author use to support the argument?
What other lines of reasoning or thinking occur to you as a result of reading this selection? What is it about the chapter that interests you?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this book chapter? If you were studying this issue, what would you have done similarly or differently?
The critical essays will be graded on a scale of A, B, C, and D. One letter grade will be deducted for each day the essay is late.

4. Class Attendance and Participation (10 percent of final grade).

Ten percent of your grade will be based on my evaluation of your participation in class. Class participation includes sharing thoughts and ideas, observations, assessments, and questions during class time. Thoughtful participation means regularly attending class and being prepared to discuss the assigned subject matter. To encourage class participation and the sharing of ideas, you should identify one or two questions from the assigned readings that you would like to discuss in class. You should always ask yourself how the assigned reading for the day can help you with your own research project.

Course Grades:
Individual Research Project 40% of final grade.
Oral Presentation 20% of final grade.
Critical Essays 30% of final grade.
Class Attendance and Participation 10% of final grade.


Week 1-2: Introduction: Policy, Planning, and Theories of Urban Development. January 9 (W) - January 16 (W).
January 16.

Required Reading:
- Chapter 1. "Introduction: Theories of Urban Development and their Implications for Policy and Planning," by Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell. Readings in Urban Theory, edited by Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell.
- Chapter 1. "Introduction: The Structure and Debates of Planning Theory," by Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein. Readings in Planning Theory, edited by Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein.

No critical essay due January 16.

Recommended Reading: Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein (eds.). Readings in Planning Theory.
- Chapter 2. "Urban Utopias: Ebenezer Howard and Le Corbusier," by Robert Fishman.
- Chapter 3. "The Glory, Destruction, and Meaning of the City Beautiful Movement," by William H. Wilson.
- Chapter 4. "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," by Jane Jacobs.

Week 3: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Urban Policy and Planning.
January 23.

Required Reading: Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein (eds.). Readings in Planning Theory.
- Chapter 6. "Arguments for and Against Planning," by Richard E. Klosterman.
- Chapter 7. "Planning the Capitalist City," by Richard E. Fogelsong.
- Chapter 8. "On Planning the Ideology of Planning," by David Harvey.

Recommended Reading:
- Chapter 2. "Bourgeois Utopias," by Robert Fishman. Readings in Planning Theory, edited by Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein.

Week 4-5: School Segregation and Desegregation. January 30 - February 6.

January 30.
Required Reading: Gary Orfield and Susan Eaton (eds.). Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education.
- "Preface," "Introduction," and "Leading Decisions on Desegregation, 1896-1995."
- Chapter 1. "Turning Back to Segregation,"
- Chapter 2. "Plessy Parallels."
- Chapter 3. "The Growth of Segregation: African Americans, Latinos, and Unequal Education."

Research Proposals due. No critical essay due.

February 6.
Required Reading: Gary Orfield and Susan Eaton (eds.). Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education.
- Chapter 4. "Unexpected Costs and Uncertain Gains of Dismantling Desegregation."
- Chapter 11. "Segregated Housing and School Resegregation."
- Chapter 12. "Toward an Integrated Future."

Recommended Reading: Chapters 5-10 in Gary Orfield and Susan Eaton (eds.). Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education.

February 11 (Monday) - February 12 (Tuesday). MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION.

Week 6-8: Class, Race, and Urban Poverty. February 13 - February 27.
February 20.
Required Reading:
Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell (eds.). Readings in Urban Theory.
- Chapter 8. "The Truly Disadvantaged: The Hidden Agenda," by William Julius Wilson.
- Chapter 9. "Race, Class, and Segregation: Discourses about African Americans," by Norman Fainstein.
Chapters 1 and 2 in Left Behind in Rosedale: Race Relations and the Collapse of Community Institutions, by Scott Cummings.

February 27.
Required Reading: Chapters 3-11 in Left Behind in Rosedale: Race Relations and the Collapse of Community Institutions, by Scott Cummings.

Week 9. Urban Renewal and Redevelopment.
March 6
Required Reading:
Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell (eds.). Readings in Urban Theory.
- Chapter 11. "Partnership and the Pursuit of the Private City," by Gregory D. Squires.
- Chapter 12. "The City as Growth Machine," by John R. Logan and Harvey L. Molotch.
- Chapter 13. "Gentrification, the Frontier, and the Restructuring of Urban Space," by Neil Smith.

Recommended Reading: Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein (eds.). Readings in Planning Theory.
- Chapter 17. "What Local Economic Developers Actually Do: Location Quotients versus Press Releases," by John Levy.
- Chapter 19. "Coalition Building by a Regional Agency: Austin Tobin and the Port of New York Authority," by Jameson Doig.

Week 10-11. Globalization and Deindustrialization. March 13 - March 20.
March 13
Required Reading: Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell (eds.). Readings in Urban Theory.
- Chapter 3. "The Global City," by Saskia Sassen.
- Chapter 4. "The Informational Mode of Development and the Restructuring of Capitalism," by Manual Castells.
- Chapter 7. "Changing World Economy and Urban Restructuring," by Susan S. Fainstein.

March 20.
Required Reading:
Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell (eds.). Readings in Urban Theory.
- Chapter 15. "See you in Disneyland," by Michael Sorkin.
- Chapter 16. "Social Justice, Postmodernism and the City," by David Harvey.
Scott Campbell and Susan Fainstein (eds.). Readings in Planning Theory.
- Chapter 10. "Between Modernity and Postmodernity: The Ambiguous Position in U.S. Planning," by Robert A. Beauregard.


Week 12-13: Metropolitan Areas in Retrospect and Prospect. April 3 -10.
April 3
Required Reading: Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century, by Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf, and Todd Swanstrom.
- Chapters 1-4.

April 10.
Required Reading: Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century, by Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf, and Todd Swanstrom.
- Chapters 5-8.

Week 14-15. Research Presentations. April 17 - April 24.