Courses in Planning

Planning is a broad function of the public and private sectors directed at guiding urban and regional development, analyzing physical, social, economic, and environmental issues, and preparing policy alternatives. Many planners work in the public sector, evaluating problems and suggesting solutions in the domains of transportation, housing, economic and community development, urban design, neighborhood revitalization, environmental issues, and policy analysis. Others work in the private and nonprofit sectors, serving as consultants, researchers, real estate developers, community development promoters, and specialists in local economic development. The department administers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor program in urban studies and planning, and offers undergraduate courses in planning. These courses provide students with insights on urban and regional development from a broad, liberal arts viewpoint, as well as providing background and tools for further study and the professional practice of planning.

A PLN 220 Introductory Urban Planning (3)
Introduces the basic concepts and techniques of urban planning and provides an overview of planning history. Covers land use, transportation, environment, urban design, economic development, and social issues. Explores the connections between planning and politics, economic restructuring, social change, and competing ideologies of urban form.

A PLN 315Z State and Regional Planning (3)
Reviews the theory and practice of state and regional planning in the United States, evaluating a range of contemporary examples. Covers metropolitan regional planning, river basin planning, regional water resource management, state planning and growth management, and environmental impact assessment. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220.

A PLN 320 International Urban Planning (3)
Provides a general introduction to urban planning as it is practiced in various countries around the world, focusing on North America, Western Europe, and Asia. For each of the countries covered there will be a discussion of the changing context of urbanization and economic development within which contemporary urban planning has emerged. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 220 or A PLN 220, or permission of instructor.

A PLN 328 (= A GOG 328 & A WSS 328) Gender, Space, and Place (3)
Power relations and categories of social difference are reflected by dramatic inequalities in local environments, and in the quantity and quality of available space. This course examines, through the lenses of feminist geography and planning, how space is invested with social meaning. It discusses how the built environment affects and reflects relations of gender, sexuality and ethnicity, and considers how these social classifications produce “geographies of difference.” Gender is also related to nationalism, colonialism, “geographic skills,” and feminist research methodologies. Only one version of A PLN 328 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 125 or A PLN 220, or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2013-2014.

A PLN 330Y (= A GOG 330Y) Principles of Environmental Management (3)
Examines issues and problems arising from the interactions between humans and their physical environment. Explores the degradation of environmental systems resulting from human use and modification, as well as the impact of environmental processes on human systems. The policy options for dealing with environmental issues and problems are investigated. Only one version of A PLN 330Y may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 101 and either A GOG 201 or A PLN 220; or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2013-2014.

A PLN 375 (= A GOG 375) Methods of Urban Analysis (3)
This class will build a foundation for the lager field of statistical analysis and planning methodologies. Students will develop fundamental skills, such as data collection and presentation, descriptive analysis, and data interpretation. When the course successfully completed, students will be to identify different types of data, accurate present data in table and graphic format, describe and analysis data using statistic tools such as measures of central tendency and dispersion, conduct hypothesis testing, build confidence intervals and use these tools to analyze places. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 108 or equivalent.

A PLN 420 Introduction to Real Estate Development (3)
An introduction to the basics of real estate development as an important element in the physical, economic, and social development of cities. Emphasis is placed on market analysis, proforma development for capital and operating costs, and sources of funds for residential real estate, with a focus on affordable housing. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220 or permission of instructor.

A PLN 425 Community Development and Neighborhood Planning (3)
Examines the challenges and opportunities of neighborhood and community planning, with an emphasis on older cities and neighborhoods. Assesses the relationship between neighborhood decline and other problems and obstacles faced by urban areas (e.g., concentrated poverty, loss of employment opportunities, discrimination and red-lining, fiscal disparities, etc.) Case studies of neighborhood and community development initiatives in various American cities are examined to explore the causes and consequences of neighborhood decline, and possible strategies for reversing community decline. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 125 or A PLN 220.

A PLN 426 Community Development and Neighborhood Planning Workshop (1–4)
Provides students an opportunity to obtain “real world” experience assisting a local community or neighborhood group. Students work under supervision on both team and individual projects that address specific needs of communities (e.g. housing, education, public safety, transportation, health) in the Capital District. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 425. May not be offered in 2013-2014.

A PLN 430/430Z (= A GOG 430/430Z) Environmental Planning (3)
Environmental planning is much more than preservation of pristine land. Through the examination of environmental movements, energy policy, the land use-transportation nexus, environmental justice, and environmental policy formation, at the end of this course, students will be able to: (1) identify how normative bias influences planning and policy choices; (2) describe major conflicts in environmental planning and policy; and (3) understand the relationship of scale and environmental planning/policy options. Only one version of A PLN 430 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220 or permission of instructor.

A PLN 432 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.

A PLN 436 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. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing, and A PLN 220 and A GOG 101, or equivalent courses. May not be offered in 2013-2014.

A PLN 437 Landscape Planning Workshop (3-4)
Creation of a landscape plan for a local or regional agency or nonprofit. Plan will balance protection of the natural and cultural environment with the need for human uses of the landscape including community growth and development. Draws from the practice of landscape architecture and community planning, and includes field research, community consultation, report writing, and mapping. Students serve as team members in the preparation of the plan. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing, A PLN 220 and A GOG 101, or equivalents, and GIS (A GOG 496/A PLN 456 or proficient ArcView or MapInfo user skills). May not be offered in 2013-2014.

A PLN 443 Transportation History and Policy (3)
Examines the history of transportation systems and policy in the United States. Emphasis on understanding the political and social forces that influence decision-making at the federal, state, and local levels. The roles of corporate investment, and of citizen interests and participation are examined. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220 or permission of instructor.

A PLN 449 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. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220 or permission of instructor.

A PLN 451 Introductory Computer Aided Design (1)
Provides an introduction to Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), enabling students to understand the basic principles of CADD and to use CADD software.

A PLN 452 (formerly A PLN 450) CADD in Planning (3)
Applies the concepts and theories underlying Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) to site planning, urban design, and land-use mapping, including 2D concept diagrams, site plan detail and 3D perspectives. Also reviews rendering, 4D applications, visualization, and CADD management.

A PLN 456 (= A GOG 496) Geographic Information Systems (3)
Introduction to the structure, design, and application of data base management systems designed to accept large volumes of spatial data derived from various sources. The student will learn how to efficiently store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and display these data according to a variety of user-defined specifications. Only one version of A PLN 456 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): familiarity with maps and coordinate systems.

A PLN 460 (= A GOG 460) People, Place, and Power (3)
This course will examine the relationships between current energy supplies and alternatives that are renewable and more environmentally sustainable. It begin with defining energy then turns to an analysis of the economic, social, political, and technological factors that determine the potential a carbon free energy future. At the end of this course, students will be able to 1) identify how normative bias influences planning and policy choices; 2) describe major conflicts in energy planning and policy; and 3) understand the differences between physical/technological barriers versus economic/political impediments to sustainable energy planning/policy options.

A PLN 474 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 building 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.

A PLN 475 Urban Design (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 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. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 125 or A GOG 220 or A PLN 220

A PLN 476 Urban Design and Site Planning Workshop (1-4)
Involves students in supervised team projects doing practical urban design and/or site planning work. Through investigation, fieldwork, and discussion, student groups prepare proposals for the design and layout of a specific site or axis. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220.

A PLN 485 Topics in Planning (1-4)
Selected topics in specific sub-fields of planning. Topics will be indicated in the course schedule and in departmental announcements. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220, and junior or senior standing.

A PLN 490 Planning Internship (3)
Provides students with practical work experience in the general field of urban and regional planning. Internship placements are typically with federal, state, or local government agencies, consultancy firms, community development corporations, or private voluntary or political action groups specializing in a specific sub-field relating to planning. Supervisor’s reference and final report required. Internships are open only to qualified juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220 and permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A PLN 497 Independent Study in Planning (2–4)
Provides an opportunity for students with a strong interest in a specific topic or sub-field in urban and regional planning to do directed reading, independent study or research with faculty supervision. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, but not for more than a total of 6 credit hours. Prerequisite(s): A PLN 220, and junior or senior standing.