City Planning & Urban Affairs Graduate Courses

Click on any course title below to read its description. Courses offered in the upcoming semester include a schedule, and are indicated by a label to the right of the title.

Visit bu.edu/summer to see the City Planning & Urban Affairs courses offered this summer.

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 508 Real Estate Development
Fall ‘14

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Smith CAS B25B R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 509 Urban and Public Finance and Budgeting
Fall ‘14

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Delaney CAS 322 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 510 Selected Topics in Urban Affairs
Fall ‘14

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Staff KCB 107 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 515 History and Theory of Urban Planning
Fall ‘14

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Silva CAS 226 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 546 Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice
Fall ‘14

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Bluestone HIS B06 T 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 560 City in the Media

-  [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 601 Urban Environmental Issues
Fall ‘14

This course will provide an in-depth understanding of current climate change related policies in effect and/or being negotiated at different scales (global to local). The students will analyze ongoing debates (for example adaptation vs. mitigation) and learn from prevalent theories, to formulate their own positions on how best to plan for climate change. The final project will entail the formulation of "formal" climate action plans for an assigned urban area.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Dutta-Koehle PHO 901 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 620 Urban and Regional Land Use Policy and Planning

Techniques of land use planning, including socioeconomic studies, market analysis and needs forecasting, mapping, environment and service impacts, and transportation/land use coordination. Policies for achieving land use objectives: planned unit development, zoning, development corporations, new towns, and land preservation.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 623 Regional and Metropolitan Development Planning

Analysis of regional planning as applied to land use, economic development, infrastructure systems, and other topics. Cases and class projects selected from metropolitan and substate regions, including regional approaches and organizations, economic base, comparative advantage, and growth centers.   [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 632 Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research

Discussion of techniques for aiding decision makers in setting goals, evaluating alternatives, and predicting outcomes, including cost-benefit analysis, risk taking, and other commonly applied methodologies. Development of evaluative research skills.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 639 Urban Employment Policy and Planning

Problems confronting managers of manpower and related human services programs. Emphasis on state and local levels, and intergovernmental relations. Techniques of program analysis, management, and control. Planning approaches to enhance and retain urban employment, and improve employability.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 654 Geographic Information Systems for Planners
Fall ‘14

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Penn SHA 111 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 655 Connected City

-  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 657 Housing from an International Perspective

-  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 662 Non-Profits and Land Use Planning

Nonprofits and Land Use Development will explore the unique land use and economic development issues linked to non-profit institutions. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between the tax status and land use patterns of non-profits and their broader impact on social equity, labor markets and community relations. Students will also learn more about the legal controls communities use to regulate development and the important role of community planning and professional planners in the development process.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 664 Planning and the Development Process
Fall ‘14

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Weis GCB 206 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 668 Post Disaster Planning

-  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 672 Regionalism

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.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 675 Urban Sustainability

-  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 701 Urban Problems and Policy Responses

Major problems confronting urban areas and the process of policy formulation and implementation. Emphasis on problem interdependence and systems characteristics. Analysis of problem definitions (housing, crime, poverty, etc.), goals, public/private responsibilities, existing programs, and policy options. Analysis of selected, comparative international experience.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 702 Urban Analytical Methods

Use and analysis of quantitative data in public policy development and planning. Basic skills of organization and presentation of numerical information. Introduction to descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression; computer use. Math review.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 703 Urban Research Methods
Fall ‘14

Examines research techniques useful for urban policy research. Emphasis on survey research techniques, including sampling, survey organization, questionnaire development, and interviewing. Participant observation techniques. Field data collection and analysis.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Silva CAS 225 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 704 Urban Economic Issues and Analysis
Fall ‘14

Basic economic concepts and techniques of analysis necessary for urban public policy development. Analysis of the economic bases of selected current urban problems and evaluation of several policy solutions to common urban problems.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Zizzi GCB 203 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 715 Planning Law
Fall ‘14

In this course we will read and analyze the important U.S. Supreme Court and state court decisions that have shaped and continue to influence zoning, planning, and other land use controls throughout the country. We will see the interaction between court decisions and land use controls and how each has evolved to meet changing conditions and goals. We will also review the structure of the U.S. legal system and how to brief court decisions and create a framework for understanding constitutional requirements on eminent domain, due process, and equal protection from a planner's perspective.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Benson CAS B18B R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 747 Building Conservation

Theory and practicalities involved in conservation of historic buildings. This course will cover the history and theory of building conservation architectural investigations of building, including documentary, constructional, and finish materials to materials for conservation.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 748 Seminar in Adaptive Use

Seminar on the methods of adapting older buildings to new uses. Emphasis on architectural, legal, and economic factors. Field trips, case studies.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 750 Neighborhood Conservation

Focus on planning techniques and public programs relevant to neighborhood conservation and housing rehabilitation. Preparation of neighborhood preservation plan.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 751 Urban Planning and Decision Theory

The role and process of planning in terms of theory and historical development. Tradition of rational/comprehensive and incremental decision theory: roles and functions, organization, participation, political relationships, and time and information use. Relationships between planning, ideology, ethics, social change, and implementation.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 754 Planning and Preservation

Considers the methods employed to protect and plan for the historic landscape. Topics include the history of preservation planning and the broader planning profession, and a review of case law, legislation, and the protection strategies of current preservation practice.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 755 Colloquium in Preservation Planning

A comprehensive preservation planning and advocacy course in which students in the Preservation Studies Program prepare a planning document under contract with a community.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 759 Financing Historic Preservation

This course will focus on how to determine the value and potential income of a property, produce a feasibility analysis, and secure financing for preservation projects.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 761 Planning Thesis

Topic must be approved by designated instructor or advisor. For M.C.P. students only. Application of program coursework and independent research to a selected topic individually arranged.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 780 Problems in Historic Preservation

A research seminar to explore, in depth, changing themes or current issues in historic preservation.  [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 801 Graduate Directed Study in Urban Affairs and Planning
Fall ‘14

Limited to a maximum of 8 credits toward the degree requirements. Approval by program director required prior to registration. Study of urban and public affairs and planning individually arranged between student and instructor to provide training opportunities not available elsewhere.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 DRS Silva ARR
MET UA 802 Graduate Directed Study in Urban Affairs and Planning

Limited to a maximum of 8 credits toward the degree requirements. Approval by program director required prior to registration. Study of urban and public affairs and planning individually arranged between student and instructor to provide training opportunities not available elsewhere.  [ Var cr. ]

MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork
Fall ‘14

Limited to a maximum of four credits toward the degree requirements. Approval by program director required prior to registration. Students spend a minimum of 12 hours working with public agencies, community groups, or private organizations. Seminar participation.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 DRS Silva ARR
MET UA 805 The Boston Urban Symposium

The Boston based Urban Symposium will be a thematic Spring symposium, required for students in the Urban Affairs and City Planning programs. The class meetings will weave together the interdisciplinary nature of the urban planning and city planning professions. While the symposium topics will change each spring, professionals and industry leaders will be invited to lecture on their experiences, contemporary challenges to the professions, and major problems confronting the public and private sectors. Recognizing the unique and diverse characteristics of the Boston urban environment, the symposium themes will be drawn from topical issues that involve the greater Boston metropolitan area. The course features a combination of guest speakers and academic case studies that emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of urban planning.   [ 4 cr. ]