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 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 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.

    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.

    Spring 2017-- Special Topic: "History of Metropolitan Boston" (Section A1) 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.

    Spring 2017 -- Special Topic: "Urban Sustainability and Climate Change" (Section B1) Human led urbanization and globalization have produced serious negative impacts on the natural ecology of the planet earth. Climate change is one such impact that has put human settlements at risk by weakening the social and economic resources for long-term survival of people living in cities, towns and rural areas. The increased frequency and severe impacts of natural disasters demands that planning understand the dynamics and interconnectedness between urbanization, globalization and climate change; and their impacts on people and human settlements. They need to understand the governance and political complexities of meeting sustainability goals. This course makes students knowledgeable about the negative impacts of urbanization and globalization on climate and human habitat; and procedural, bureaucratic and political challenges in meeting sustainability goals. It provides lessons for planning practice by exposing students to several best and worst planning examples.
  • MET UA 515: History, Theory and Planning Practice
    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 and Policy
    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 523: Skills and Techniques in Planning
    Students introduced to specific skills and techniques to help them achieve community and urban planning goals. The course covers a range of communications skills, including oral, written, visual, and using social media in planning to help planners develop concise, understandable plans and documents. Grant research, writing, and administration will be discussed. Segments on community outreach and engagement and how to build equity and cultural competency will be explored. Students will be introduced to skills in designing and implementing community meetings, including facilitation skills and managing group dynamics.
  • MET UA 580: Boston Experience: The Role of Architecture in Creating the Sense of Place
    The Boston Experience is a graduate and advanced undergraduate course designed in the seminar format. The course will provide an introduction to the study of architecture as an important foundation for students of urban affairs and city planning and as an important foundation for students in other disciplines such as civil engineering, historic preservation, and the applied social sciences (such as sociology). The course will also serve as a foundation of the basic concepts and a general overview of the field of architecture. This foundation will also provide a prerequisite for the two advanced studio planning courses currently offered at MET in the Department of Urban Affairs and City Planning (UA 613 and UA 510).
  • 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 610: Urban Environmental Issues
    This course is designed to present a comprehensive approach to urban environmental issues by integrating environmental planning and policy. It is intended for both students with and without planning background. This course provides a broader view and discussion of natural resources planning relating to issues affecting urban watershed management. This approach includes water policy, sustainability of water resources, freshwater planning (Lakes and Rivers), coastal waters, open space protection, stormwater management, clean water act, wetland protection, low impact development, and stakeholder involvement with a focus on the means and techniques available to local governments to plan and protect watersheds. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the potential to address full range of urban watershed issues, including water supply planning, water quality restoration and protection, open space planning, habitat protection and ecological conservation, and enhancement and regulatory activities.
  • MET UA 613: Urban Design
    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: Actionable Sustainability
    Sustainability generally refers to the ability of "systems" to be maintained such that they remain viable over long periods of time. As much as achieving the perfect sustainable equilibrium may be the ideal, it is important to recognize that there will be competing and conflicting interests, especially within complex hierarchical social, economic and ecological systems, particularly in light of ongoing climatic change. This field intensive course draws on the practices and theories of sustainability and climate change to understand what sustainability can mean in different contexts, and, more important, how nuanced, sustainable solutions can be achieved under varying conditions and in different systems. With an emphasis on the urban environment, the course will consist of projects in which students will identify, analyze, and develop practical proposals to real world issues. This course is intended for a wider audience from a range of disciplines.
  • MET UA 619: Urban Transportation Policy and Planning
    This course will provide students with a broad introduction to important concepts and policy issues in transportation, principally at an urban and metropolitan level. In addition, the course will explore methods planning practitioners can use to analyze transportation problems and propose solutions. The course will use specific examples of planning initiatives (both operations and capital) from transportation agencies within the Boston Metropolitan region. Guest speakers from local, regional, and state transportation agencies within the Greater Boston Metropolitan area will supplement the instructor's lectures and assigned readings.
  • MET UA 629: Urbanization and the Environment
    Interrelationships between physical environment and processes of urbanization. Case studies develop historical perspective on social, economic, and physical aspects of the quality of urban life. Special attention to the preparation of environmental impact statements and assessment of urban environmental quality.
  • MET UA 654: Geographic Information Systems for Planners
    Geographic Information Systems for Planners provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specifically with a focus on applications in urban planning. The role of spatial analysis in local, state and regional planning has steadily increased over the last decade with the infusion of windows-based GIS software such as ESRI ArcGIS. The class focus is to prepare students to feel comfortable communicating with other GIS users, research spatial data, and produce high quality digital maps in an applied learning environment.
  • MET UA 664: Planning and the Development Process
    This course specifically explores the area where the private and public sectors meet so that the student can develop an awareness of the complexity of dealing with these often competing interests. The objective of the course is to give the student an understanding of the motivations of the private sector in the way they go about creating their products and projects and to leave the student with the tools and knowledge to successfully negotiate the Public Interest with the Private Needs.
  • MET UA 668: Post Disaster Planning
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  • MET UA 672: Regionalism
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: MET UA 515 and MET UA 703.
    Based on the premise that the old city-versus-suburb view is outdated and does not serve well the planning and public policy objective of creating sustainable living environments, this seminar examines the region as an organic economic and social entity as well as a legitimate planning and administrative unit. Students undertake an in-depth analysis of the issues, challenges and opportunities faced by institutionally fragmented U.S. metropolitan regions while exploring the emerging metropolitanist policy movement which embodies the belief that cities and their suburbs are related, rather than antithetical, and make up a single place.