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Course Details

Course Number: 90-733

Urban Development

Units: 6

This course is an overview of the processes which control change in the built environment. The processes which result in urban development are controlled by a wide range of players, including developers, architects, lenders, planners and a variety of other public sector players, and community organizations. Developers can range from private for-profit individuals, to huge nonprofit institutions, to community development corporations. All have specific and sometimes conflicting goals for the development of the environment. The course will review the roles and responsibilities of each.

Overlaid on these processes are a myriad of public agency regulations and requirements, many of which are based on the desire for a more responsible approach to urban growth. While often seen as obstructionist and counter productive, public regulation and public review are often the only opportunity for a broader dialogue about major developments which can affect cities for decades.

A basic assumption, and open bias, of this course is that every physical change in the built environment, from removing a tree to constructing a high-rise has an impact on the character of cities. Most importantly most such projects impact the most defining characteristic of cities, which is often called the "Public Realm". It is the protection of the Public Realm which is a major theme of the course.


George R. Whitmer