Selected Topics in Urban Affairs

MET UA 510

UA510 is the designation for "Special Topics in Planning". The subject matter for UA510 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one UA510 can be offered in a given semester.

Fall 2017 -- Special Topic: "Sustainable Energy Planning" (Section A1, MON 6pm Instructor: Jermain) - Disruptive technology, climate change impacts, and fast-changing consumer preferences, combined with significant sustainable energy innovations (e.g., in solar, wind, biofuels, storage solutions, and granular EMS) are up-ending urban / regional energy planning and policy-making. Planners play a critical role in helping define and solve urban energy challenges. While the goal may be achieving reliable sustainable energy systems (SES), still, conventional urban energy resources (including hydro, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power) will remain an important part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. This course examines end-to-end energy systems planning and policy challenges facing SES transformation. The focus is on the U.S., but comparative experiences from Europe and Asia will be included. The course teaches the fundamentals of urban / regional energy planning; and provides practical tools for facilitating economic, social, and environmental policy-making.

Fall 2017 -- Special Topic: "Inequality: Policy Implications for Communities" (Section B1, TUES 6pm Instructor: Weis) - Income and wealth inequality are greater today than anytime since the Depression of 1929. The course explores the history of inequality in the U.S. and around the world to better understand it's causes and possible solutions. To understand how inequality affects society at community scale, the class will conduct detailed studies of two communities in the Boston area which represent the extremes of inequality.

Summer 1 2017 -- Special Topic: "Transit Oriented Development in the 21st Century" (Section A1, TUES/THUR 6 PM Instructor: Johnson) - As rates of urbanization continue to increase, there is amplified demand for housing, economic development, and connectivity through transportation networks. This course unpacks 'sustainable development' by focusing on strategies and best practices at the intersection of zoning and land use patterns with sustainable transportation options (e.g. subway, bus, rapid transit, biking, and walking). Students learn how to address sustainable development and transportation issues at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Case studies are used to address central issues many cities are facing. Topics covered include stakeholder engagement, climate change preparedness and adaptation, resilience planning, transportation networks, bikeshare and bikeable networks, walkability, equity, sustainable land use, and zoning.

Summer 2, 2017 -- Special Topic: "Public Health and the Built Environment" (Section B1, MON/WED 6 PM Instructor: Zemel) - Since the mid- 1800s, scientists and researchers have continuously shown how public policies significantly impact the health of individuals now and in the future. Through readings, case studies, guest lectures, and in-class exercises, students learn about the lasting impacts of many of these policies. Students are also introduced to a variety of strategies used to design interventions that target urban problems and to the role of evidence in the policymaking process. This course is well- suited for curious students with an introductory background in planning, public health, and related fields.

Summer 2, 2017 -- Special Topic: "Feeding the City: Urban Food" (Section B2, TUES/THUR 6 PM Instructor: Carroll) - Examines historical and contemporary issues involved in providing food to cities and metropolitan areas. Tracing the routes that food takes into the city and the major sources of food, the course looks closely at the accessibility of food, especially in poorer urban neighborhoods. Among topics covered are obesigenic neighborhoods, food deserts, gentrification and foodie culture, public school food nutrition, attempts to minimize food waste, and immigrants and ethnic foods in the city. The course also considers recent attempts at food production in cities, including urban agriculture, vertical farming, and craft production of food products. After closely looking at the history and current status of food programs, the course concludes with a consideration of urban food policies.

FALL 2017 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A1 Jermain CAS 315 M 6:00 pm-8:45 pm Special Topic
Energy Planning

SPRG 2018 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A1 O'Connell PSY B53 M 6:00 pm-8:45 pm Special Topic:
Planning &
Development in

SPRG 2018 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A2 Sungu-Eryilm SHA 210 M 6:00 pm-8:45 pm Special Topic:
Cities &
Making Sense of

Note: this course was also offered during Summer Term

Note that this information may change at any time. Please visit the Student Link for the most up-to-date course information.