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.

Topic for Spring 2016: "History of Metropolitan Boston"
This course provides an historical overview of Boston's metropolitan development, from the earliest country estates to suburban sprawl and the smart growth movement. The course is based upon the recent book The Hub's Metropolis: Greater Boston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth (The MIT Press, 2013). It provides historical context for understanding the region's contemporary planning efforts that are addressing the challenges of low-density sprawl, climate change, and the global information age economy.
The course examines ten periods of Greater Boston's metropolitan development. The class explores how each era produced a distinctive vernacular land use development pattern. Each period had particular characteristics related to the built landscape, transportation, real estate development patterns, housing styles, commercial development, and the treatment of open and public space. Although there has been much formal government planning over the years, there is a "deep structure" to development patterns that is not easily altered by planners, politicians, or developers. Each era of suburbanization has also been shaped by cultural attitudes toward suburbs, the city, and social class.
The course discusses how Boston has been a national pace-setter for many features of suburbanization, including country estates, railroad suburb subdivisions, streetcar suburbs, land use zoning, open space conservation, highway beltways, shopping centers, office parks, edge cities, and central city revitalization. Landscape architecture pioneer Frederick Law Olmsted promoted model suburban designs from his home and office in the garden suburb of Brookline. The Metropolitan District Commission's park- and-parkway system, which was created around 1900, was the country's first example of regional planning. The city of Boston is noteworthy for its vibrant central city, which suffered a painful postwar decline, but crafted a nationally-regarded revival.

Fall 2016-- Special Topic: "Affordable Housing Financing"

FALL 2016 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
C1 EPC 206 W 6:00 pm-9:00 pm Special Topic:
Affordable
Housing
Financing

SPRG 2017 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A1 M 6:00 pm-9:00 pm Special Topic:
History of
Metropolitan
Boston

SPRG 2017 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
B1 T 6:00 pm-9:00 pm Special Topic:
Urban Climate
Communication

Note: this course is 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.