Urban Affairs

  • MET UA 301: Introduction to Urban Affairs
    This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to urban affairs and urban problems, including an overview of prominent theories about the nature and causes of urban problems. We will examine the metropolitan area as a complex system with interdependent institutions and problems and consider present as well as future urban policy options in areas such as housing, transportation, crime, education, environment and economic development.
  • MET UA 403: Boston Urban Seminar
    An opportunity to explore general issues of urban affairs and planning in seminar. Theme changes, but each seminar focuses on Boston. Prominent scholars and professionals active in city and regional issues are invited to participate.
  • MET UA 409: Urban Affairs Senior Project
    Required of undergraduate urban affairs majors. Students complete a senior project in their field of interest. Individual faculty supervision arranged by the department; project topic and approach arranged between student and advisor.
  • MET UA 503: Housing and Community Development
    Surveys the factors affecting supply and price of urban housing. Examines federal, state, and municipal programs, as well as future policy options, from the standpoint of housing quality and community development goals. Analysis of selected international comparative experience.
  • MET UA 505: Urban Management
    Examination of selected cases in municipal and public management. Organization, financial management, personnel relations, program planning and budgeting, and issues of public and private sector relations. The administration of municipal functions, including health, police, schools, and housing.
  • MET UA 507: Law and Justice in the City
    Operation of the criminal justice system in the urban setting. Special attention is paid to the problems of safeguarding individual rights. Examines relationship between social and economic structure of cities and workings of the system of justice.
  • MET UA 508: Real Estate Development
    Various factors affecting location, construction, financing, and marketing of real estate in metropolitan areas. Studies the relationship of public policy to the activities of the private sector, market analysis techniques, evaluation of development projects, and problems of real estate investment.
  • MET UA 509: Urban and Public Finance and Budgeting
    Economic, social, and political aspects of state and local government finances. Theory of public finance; revenues, expenditures, and survey of budgetary processes. Planning techniques in capital budgeting and other finance activities. Selected issues: debt, user fees, property taxes, and incentives.
  • MET UA 510: Selected Topics in Urban Affairs
    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 2014 - MET UA510 B1 - "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. Affordable Housing Finance highlights how successful developers integrate expertise in real estate development, public policy expertise, and political acumen to produce high quality affordable housing and community revitalization. Key affordable housing policies and tools are discussed, with a primary focus on financing and community development strategies. The course addresses the issues of developing affordable housing and creative practices used to breakdown regulatory and other barriers. Guests include affordable housing practitioners and financiers to discuss process and challenges in the field.

    Fall 2014 - MET UA510 C1 - "International Approaches to Urban Sustainability"
    This course offers a comprehensive, yet critical understanding of the competing theories and practices of sustainable development as applied in cities. Topics include land use, transportation, brownfields redevelopment, community land trusts, green architecture, renewable energy, food systems, air and water pollution, and waste recycling. Furthermore, through a comparative study of sustainable practices in cities, students learn about the constraints and opportunities different cities confront. Looking at cities through a "sustainability" lens promotes understanding of multiple interrelated issues and the need for collaboration to achieve sustainability. The approach is interdisciplinary.
  • MET UA 515: History and Theory of Urban Planning
    History, concepts, and methods of contemporary urban and regional planning practice. Governmental, nonprofit, and private settings of professional planning; plans, research, and policy development; uses and implementation of planning. Political analysis of planning issues, such as comprehensiveness, public interest, advocacy, negotiation, and future orientation. Case materials drawn from redevelopment, growth management, land use conflicts, and service delivery.
  • MET UA 521: Environmental Law
    Principles and status of environmental law for pollution control and environmental improvement. Impact statements, resource conservation and protection, growth management. Emphasis on air, water, land, and hazardous waste issues. Environmental, economic, and other policy relationships. Case materials and court decisions.
  • MET UA 546: Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice
    Covers key aspects of the history, theory, and practice of historic preservation. Preservation will be discussed in the context of cultural history and the changing relationship between existing buildings and landscapes and attitudes toward history, memory, invented tradition, and place.
  • MET UA 550: Bike Planning and Advocacy
    This course will introduce students to the wide range of issues involved in building the infrastructure and facilitating the culture change to make bicycling for fun, fitness, and, most especially, a serious mode of transportation across the USA. The course will be structured in four parts. Part I will focus on defining the problem and the opportunity. Part II will cover strategies to support and encourage bicycling. Part III will discuss how to build both political and public support for bicycling. Part IV will allow students to synthesize the course concepts into a final bicycle planning or advocacy project.
  • MET UA 553: Documenting Historic Buildings and Landscapes
    Seminar in architectural and landscape recording techniques involving readings, fieldwork, and writing; projects include research on individual buildings as well as groups of resources. Emphasis on research design and evaluation of evidence.
  • MET UA 560: City in the Media
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  • MET UA 590: International Comparative Urbanization and Planning
    Examination of a selected country, region, or city in relation to issues of urbanization and development planning. Emphasis on comparative analysis of policy, techniques, conditions, issues, and effectiveness. Topics and international subjects vary. Consult the department for details.
  • MET UA 604: Urban Political Decision-Making: Citizen Participation in the Planning Process
    Case studies of political decision-making roles in urban conflict management and resource allocation. Community power distribution, factors influencing change, leadership styles, and relationships to administrators and planners. Selected policy issues, such as redevelopment, education, crime, and service delivery.
  • MET UA 611: Community Development
    Examination of community development challenges in several areas, including housing, economic development, community policing, and resident activism. Analysis of past and present strategies for strengthening communities through case studies, actual government and community programs, guest lectures, and related readings.
  • MET UA 613: Designing Urban Space
    The role of urban design in the community development process. Examines human behavior, aesthetic foundations of design methods, citizen/client participation, and public policy issues. Analysis of actual community spaces. Student design exercises.
  • MET UA 617: Living Systems Theory and Design
    The class takes an experiential approach to explore and answer the following questions: How can we reconcile the interrelationship between perceived human needs and earth's living processes? Students engage with the theory and practical implementation of current practices of 'sustainability' and living systems thinking. The living processes of community are explored as a catalyst for healthy change, design-based thinking, and on-the-ground implementation of holistic planning models. The course is based on the experience and writings of leading living system theorists, authors, architects, planners, developers, and landscape architects. By the end of the course, students' understanding will shift from seeing the world as pieces in relationship to seeing it as inseparable 'wholes' of systems nested within one another.