Planning Courses

Pln 501 (Gog 521) Planning History and Philosophy (3)

Examines the basic concepts and theories of urban and regional planning in the United States through an historical survey of the origins of the subject, the development of planning thought, the ideas and careers of the principal thinkers, and the relationships between business, government and residential communities. 

Pln 502 (Gog 526) Urban and Metropolitan Structure and Functions (3)

Examines the economic, political, social and physical  attributes of American cities, suburbs, and metropolitan regions.  Identifies past and future roles of public policy and planning in creating and solving urban and metropolitan-wide problems.  Topics include:  urban decline and development, urban design, suburbanization and sprawl, infrastructure and environmental quality, class and income polarization, and regional planning programs.

Pln 503 (Gog 555) Computer Applications in Planning (3)

This course is an introduction to the use of personal computers in planning practice.  It is intended to help students develop skills in spreadsheet, database and communications applications, along with elementary geographic information systems (GIS) and graphics packages.

Pln 504 (Gog 502) Statistical Methods (3)

Geographical applications of quantitative and statistical methods, including spatial data sources, interaction models, parameter estimation, and simple and multiple regression analysis.

Pln 505 Planning Processes, Plans, and the Design of Communities (4)

Examines the theory and practice of urban planning at the state and local level in the U.S., with an emphasis on how planning shapes the physical form and design of cities and regions.  Alternative planning process models, as well as the varied roles that planners can play in different contexts, are examined and compared.  Methods and tools for controlling land use and development are also identified.  Case studies are utilized to underscore the place-based, context-driven nature of urban planning, the need to adjust planning processes and roles to the demands of particular situations, and the importance of engaging citizens in goal setting and plan development.  Finally, factors that can increase or undermine planning effectiveness are identified and discussed.

Pln 506 Planning Law (3)

The legal foundation of planning, examining constitutional issues, the evolution of judicial decisions, enabling legislation, and local ordinances. Zoning issues, housing, taking, transfer of development rights, growth controls, environmental law, and other emerging legal topics.  Prerequisite: Pln 505 or permission of instructor.

Pln 510 Globalization and International Planning Practice (1)

Reviews the history and practice of urban, regional and national planning outside North America and North-West Europe, emphasizing the global diffusion of planning ideas and their adaptation to local cultural and political contexts.  Discusses contrasting perspectives on international development, globalization, and the ethics of international practice. 

Pln 520 Planning Ethics (1)

Provides students with a good working knowledge of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, the APA/AICP Ethical Principles in Planning and the ICMA Code of Ethics so that once in practice, they will be able to immediately identify potential ethical dilemmas they may be facing and develop appropriate strategies for addressing these challenges. Also introduces codes and standards for related professions.

Pln 523 (Pad 561, Pos 523) Urban Community Development (3-4)

Examination of policies and programs designed to reduce social and economic distress in U.S. communities. Focuses on local and neighborhood-based efforts to address problems of inadequate housing, unemployment, lack of community services and facilities, crime, etc. Considers role of government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations in community revitalization.

Pln 527 (Gog 527) Human Factors in Geographic Information Science (3)

Building on previously learned knowledge and skills of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the course of Human Factors in GIScience intends to provide students with further introduction to cognitive theories, designing principles, and evaluation methods that are related to GIS. As a very importance aspect of geographic information science, human factors involving spatial cognition address the acquisition, processing, and utilization of spatial information and the use of them in decision making. The study of human factors not only contribute to better understanding of efficiency of geographical information systems but also inform the design and development of cognitively efficient applications. Students will be actively involved in the design of practical session that strengthen their understanding of cognitive principles in empirical design and assessments. Prerequisites(s): Students should have taken GOG 596 (Introduction to Geographic Information Systems), AGOG 597 (Advanced GIS) or similar courses such as GOG290 (Introduction to Cartography) and AGOG 590 (Advanced Cartography) that they have preliminary knowledge of technical aspects of geography, or by permission of the instructor.

Pln 528 (Pad 528, Pos 528) U.S. Housing Policy (3-4)

United States housing policies since the New Deal, especially their distributional impact and their ability to expand housing production. Emphasizes policy options available to state and local governments and community organizations to expand affordable housing and revitalize inner-city neighborhoods.

Pln 529 (Pad 563, Lcs 529) Planning for Jobs, Housing and Community Services in Third World Cities (3-4)

Reviews the potential for community development and the improvement of physical, social and economic conditions in the poor urban neighborhoods of countries characterized by mass poverty. Focuses on shanty-town upgrading, sites and services, job-creation programs, and micro-enterprise promotion. Discusses the roles of local and national governments, community participation, business, non-profits, and international aid.

Pln 530 (Gog 532) Environmental Planning (3)

Interaction between humans and the natural environment and the inability of natural systems to absorb concentrations of air, water, and land pollutants; the policy and programmatic response of federal, state, and local governments; environmental program planning; the use of controls and incentives to mitigate environmental degradation; and the assessment of the effectiveness of environmental programs.

Pln 531 (Gog 535) Environmental Assessment and Permitting (3)

The purposes of this course are to become familiar with Federal, state and local models for environmental assessment and related permitting, including contradictory topical legal mandates and requirements within a general rubric such as climate change; to understand the various assessment methods that are used to measure environmental impacts; and to comprehend the environmental decision-making process in its many forms, on a comparative basis. The course will provide practical opportunities for students to participate in reviewing, criticizing, and responding to actual environmental impact statements and related environmental permitting applications, as well as using various assessment methods.

Pln 532 Parks, Preservation and Heritage Planning (3)

Provides an overview of the concepts, laws, political influences, programs, planning methodologies, organizations, and individuals behind the parks, historic preservation, and heritage movements in the U.S. Examines how the preservation and conservation of natural, historic and cultural resources are interrelated and may be used as a means to augment the distinctive character of communities and regions, to foster local pride, and to promote tourism and economic development. Examples of traditional state, local and national parks and historic sites, as well as non-traditional and "inhabited" parks, such as greenways, heritage areas, land trusts, and scenic byways, are studied.

Pln 533 (Gog 533) Urban Ecology (3)

A major landmark has been crossed in the 21st century when humans became an "urban" species, Homo sapiens "urbanus". Indeed, more than 50% of the world's, and 80 % of the U.S. population now resides in cities. The course addresses problems of understanding urban areas from the ecological viewpoint. Central to this understanding is the recognition that humans are organisms, but ones with unique capabilities of modifying the environment on multiple scales. A crucial concept to be introduced is the distinction between ecology in cities and ecology of cities. The former addresses how organisms (including humans) respond to and influence the physical and biological characteristics of cities. The latter studies the role of cities within broader geophysical and ecological processes such as global biogeochemical cycles, local and regional climates, patterns of biodiversity and organism movements, and ecological and social responses to disturbances. This course will look at both of these aspects through a theoretical lens of modern urban ecology. Urban areas are socio-ecological systems, a mosaic of landscapes, in which humans and their activities are a component of, rather than a disturbance imposed on, (urban) ecological systems. The approach taken in this course will be to facilitate students' learning through a combination of lecture, discussion and practical homework exercises. Prerequisites: A general ecology-focused course at the college level or permission of instructor.

Pln 534 (Gog 534) Water Resources Planning (3)

To understand water as an increasingly scarce and important world resource. Students will learn how water is harnessed and moved, how competing water uses are prioritized, how to prevent source water depletion, how to plan for safe drinking water supplies and how to protect water quality through watershed planning and stormwater management, using New York and U.S. examples. Prerequisites: Pln 505 or permission of instructor.

Pln 535 (Pad 534) Environmental Restoration & Brownfields Redevelopment (3-4)

Introduces students to the fundamental issues that confront stakeholders engaged in redeveloping brownfields. Risk analysis and communication, economic aspects, political and social constraints, and the role of public participation are central themes. Linked to brownfields are also smart growth, sustainable development, urban revitalization, and quality of life concerns. The nexus of these fundamental planning concepts and environmental quality will also be explored.

Pln 536 Landscape Planning (3)

Explores the theory and practice of large-scale landscape planning and examines issues of human use, exploitation, and protection of the landscape.  Draws from the practice of landscape architecture and community planning and outlines the principles of environmentally based land use planning.  A research paper is required.  Prerequisites:  Pln 505 or permission of instructor.

Pln 538 (Gog 504) Energy, Environment, and Climate Change (3)

This course addresses the response of the global environment to rising energy consumption by human civilization. The structure of this course reflects on the premise that energy consumption and climate change are inherently-connected issues requiring a holistic study approach. The course consists of two parts. The first part of the course deals with climate change and fossil fuel use. The second part addresses the issue of alternative sources of power with lower impact on climate and environment than traditional fossil fuels. We begin the first part with review of recent changes in global climate and historic trends in fossil fuel consumption. We discuss impact of climate change and combustion of fossil fuel on environment and study of geoengineering projects that can mitigate global warming and its negative consequences. The second part of the course starts with review of scientific principles required to better understand basics of energy transformations. Then, these principles are used through the reaming part of the course to research alternative power sources including nuclear, solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biofuels and hydrogen. We use this research to derive quantitative estimates of potential scale at which power can be generated from alternative sources as well as to estimate their impact on environment and economy. Obtained estimates will be linked to policy issues related to climate change and power generation. We end this course with presentations and discussion of individual research projects in the field of geoengineering and generation of alternative energy. Prerequisite(s): At least 6 credits in undergraduate science courses.

Pln 540 (Pad 566, Pos 540, Soc 540) Urban Policy in the United States (3-4)

A research seminar on federal, state, and local policies toward the contemporary city. Evaluation of alternative conceptions of federalism, government intervention vs. market processes, and the political economy of growth. Case studies of current policy issues.

Pln 543 Transportation History and Policy (3)

This course examines the history of transport systems and policy in the United States.  The primary focus is to develop a better understanding of the political and social forces that influence decision-making at the federal, state, and local levels.  The role of citizen/stakeholder group interests and participation are examined.

Pln 544 Urban and Metropolitan Transportation Planning (3)

This course examines transportation planning in the context of travel demand models, transportation policy and community outcomes.  The course will explore the understanding the data and theories used by transportation planners and researchers.

Pln 545 Transportation Technologies Practicum (3)

This course will review current and emerging technologies being used for transportation planning.  These technologies include the use of global positioning systems (GPS), archived intelligent transportation systems (ITS) data, geographic information technologies (GIT) and simulation software applications and other visualization tools (e.g.  VISSIM).  Students will apply one or more of these technologies to real world transportation planning problems.  Prerequisites: Pln 543 and Pln 544 or permission of the instructor. 

Pln 548 Public Transportation Planning (3)

This course provides an introduction to the terms and concepts used in transit planning and will focus primarily on current transit operations and practices in the United States. Topics covered include: characteristics of different modes, scheduling, propulsion, budgeting, Federal grants, modeling, route design considerations, transit-oriented development and project development. In addition, there will be supplemental and optional field trips.

Pln 549 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Planning (3)

Covers planning, design, implementation and management of systems of non-motorized transportation, particularly the ‘human powered’ modes of bicycling and walking. Involves students in the design of bikeways, walkways, intersections and parking facilities, and in the evaluation of alternative transportation technologies.

Pln 551 (Gog 584) Remote Sensing I (3)

Introduction to the concepts and interdisciplinary applications of remote sensing. The basic principles of theory and practice are presented for earth resource management. Photographic and non-photographic sensors are examined. Visual and digital image analysis techniques are introduced. Students will interpret color infrared, multispectral, and other sensor imagery for a variety of purposes.

Pln 552 CAD in Planning (2)

Applies the concepts and theories underlying Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CAD) to site planning, urban design and land-use planning, including 2D concept diagrams and site plan detail, and introducing 3D perspectives. Prerequisite: Pln 503 or equivalent experience.

Pln 553 (Gog 585) Remote Sensing II (3)

Examination of current concepts and research in digital image analysis with emphasis on multispectral and radar data sets. Students will utilize a variety of data sources including optical and digital imagery, maps, census data, ground surveys, and other GIS data layers in completing an interpretation and analysis of selected geoscience aspects of environmental concern. Methods and importance of accuracy assessment are introduced.  Prerequisite: Pln 551 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Pln 555 (Gog 595) Introductory MapInfo (1)

Provides students who have, or are developing, a knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) fundamentals, and who have, or are developing, a knowledge of ArcView software, with a comparable knowledge of MapInfo software.  Enables students to use and apply MapInfo to the solution of a wide range of data management, cartographic and public policy programs.

Pln 556 (Gog 596) Geographic Information Systems (3)

This course will explore the structure, design, and application of geographic information systems. The student will learn how to store efficiently, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and display large volumes of spatial data derived from various sources. Students will learn information management techniques for a variety of purposes including planning and simulation modeling. Prerequisites: Gog 101 or 290, or permission of instructor, and familiarity with maps and coordinate systems.

Pln 557 (Gog 597) Advanced GIS (3)

Introduces students to ARC/INFO, a geographic information system (GIS) with extensive analytical and cartographic components. Students will use ARC/INFO to compile and analyze data for selected research projects in Geography and Planning. Major topics include data conversion procedures, registration and rectification of digital data, spatial statistical analysis, and cartographic display. Prerequisites: GOG 496/596/USP 456/PLN 556 or equivalent courses.

Pln 558 (Gog 598) Geographic Information Systems Management (3)

This course provides students with the fundamentals of GIS diffusion theory, organizational theory and management, GIS implementation, spatial data sharing and trends in national data structures. Lectures are complemented by case studies chosen by the student to test ideas discussed in class. Prerequisites: Gog 496/596 or Pln 556 or equivalent.

Pln 559 (Gog 599) Geographic Information Systems Applications (3)

Real world applications of GIS in planning and applied geography, working on projects with clients.  Discussion of issues in GIS usage, including data acquisition, implementation and management, public information dissemination, and use of GIS in public participation and policy making.  Prerequisites:  Gog 596 or Pln 556, or equivalent, and user experience with ArcInfo, ArcView or MapInfo. 

Pln 560 (Pad 567) Local Economic Development Strategies and Techniques (3-4)

Discusses the theory and practice of economic development in urban, small town, and regional settings.  Analyzes and evaluates federal, state and local programs.  Examines how the community planning process can influence local economic development.

Pln 562 (Pad 562) Plan Implementation and Development Management (3-4)

Examines a wide range of tools for managing development and implementing plans.  Methods of public infrastructure finance and capital budgeting are examined in terms of their effects on land use and the pace, direction, nature and density of development.  Alternative ways of paying for infrastructure, including methods for privatizing and shifting costs to private developers, are also scrutinized and compared to more traditional financing methods.  In addition, regulatory, financial, legal, and programmatic tools, as well as tax policies, that influence development and can help put plans into action are examined.  Finally, mechanisms for managing publicly owned real estate, and for acquiring, managing, packaging and disposing of tax-forfeit, abandoned properties are evaluated.  Prerequisite: Pln 505 or Permission of Instructor.

Pln 573 (Pad 573) Metropolitan Governance and Planning (3-4)

Physical, social and economic conditions in selected metropolitan areas in the U.S. are examined, and the role of institutions of governance and planning in producing and reinforcing current conditions is explored. Pros and cons of competing models of metropolitan governance are examined, and evidence that highly fragmented units of government intensify economic and fiscal disparities, and undermine regional competitiveness and efficiency, is scrutinized. Strategies capable of moving toward greater regional cooperation in planning and governance are considered.

Pln 574 Site Planning (3)

This course is designed as a workshop for students to be introduced to the practical aspects of site planning – a specific site in the region is studied and plans developed for future new use or renewal of the site. Experience is gained in recording site conditions, use; influence of microclimate, landform; condition of existing buildings on the site and adjacent to it. The site is analyzed for future potential within the context of existing community policies and regulations. Alternative proposals for future use are drawn up and evaluated for appropriateness, context and design quality. During the course students will record, photograph, annotate site information, draw up plans to scale, develop a concise planning report incorporating data, analysis and plan. Team work is encouraged, with small teams organized to develop projects.

Pln 575 Urban Design and Public Space (3)

Urban design focuses on "the space between the buildings." Effective treatment of this space in projects and their environs is important for a host of aesthetic, social, and functional reasons, but above all because it is linked to something more abstract and more important: the public realm of civil, political, and social interaction. This course provides a broad theoretical introduction to urban design and public space integrating three perspectives: historical patterns and practices in architecture and planning; findings in the social and behavioral sciences relevant to small urban spaces; and contemporary design criteria and practice. Analytical writing, design proposals, and a field trip are required.

Pln 585 Topics in Planning (1-4)

Special planning courses which do not fit the lengths, formats and themes specified elsewhere in the graduate curriculum. May be repeated for credit, providing the topic covered is not the same.

Pln 602 (Gog 602) Regional Theories and Techniques (3-4)

Introduces students to the theories of regional development and the tools used by geographers, planners, and other social scientists to measure regional change, forecast future trends, and analyze the regional economy.  The class begins with a review of some classical and contemporary literature on regional development.  With a firm theoretical foundation, the course shifts to developing student competency with a variety of tools including economic base multipliers, shift-share, input-output, cost-benefit analysis, etc. Prerequisite: Pln 502/Gog 526 or Pln 560/Pub560.

Pln 645 Advanced Transportation Technologies Practicum (1-6)

This course will review current and emerging technologies being used for transportation planning.  These technologies include the use of global positioning systems (GPS), archived intelligent transportation systems (ITS) data, geographic information technologies (GIT) and simulation software applications and other visualization tools (e.g.  VISSIM).  Students will work closely with the Albany Visualization and Informatics Laboratory (AVAIL) research team). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Pln 656 (Gog 692) Seminar in Geographic Information Systems (3)

In-depth study of specialized topics of importance to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In-depth examination of the scientific literature and a substantial research project involving algorithm development and/or modification and/or testing required. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: Gog 496/Gog 596/Pln 556 or equivalent, and Gog 414, Gog 590 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Pln 681 Planning Studio (4)

Team planning exercise using students with varied academic and planning specializations to design, evaluate, plan, and manage projects and programs. Written, graphic, and oral presentations before juries of officials, practicing planners, and faculty complete the course. Prerequisite: Pln 505 (Gog 525) or consent of instructor.

Pln 682 Studio Report and Implementation (1-4)

Follow-up to a Planning Studio Project enabling students to participate in the completion of the final published report, in presentations of the main conclusions and recommendations, and in ongoing activities designed to build coalitions and facilitate plan implementation.

Pln 683 Master's Research Paper in Planning (4)

Reviews information sources and search strategies for planners, writing skills, and the content of the comprehensive exam. Requires each student to prepare and present a substantial paper on a planning-related topic of his/her own choice. Prerequisites: At least 24 graduate credits completed in planning or related subjects.

Pln 684 Internship in Planning (3)

Provides experience in the practice of planning through work in government agencies, corporations, nonprofit or voluntary organizations specializing in fields closely associated with planning. The requirement for this course may be waived for students who already have at least 3 months professional planning experience. S/U graded. Prerequisite: At least 12 graduate credits in Planning.

Pln 697 Independent Study in Planning (1-4)

Independent investigation on a planning-related topic of special interest to the student, with faculty oversight and advice. May be repeated, but not for more than a total of 6 credit hours.

Pln 699 Master's Thesis in Planning (4-6)

Independent research leading to an acceptable thesis for the master's degree. S/U graded.