Courses in Urban Studies and Planning

A USP 106 (= A GOG 106) Introduction to Geospatial Technologies (3)
This course aims to provide students with fundamental concepts related to the major aspects of Geographic Information Science: Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, Cartography, and Remote Sensing. It will serve as an entry level course to introduce students who would like to have a broader perspective on GIS-related technologies and practical skills further in their studies or practices regardless of their majors. It also serves the role of preparing students for more specific courses such as Introduction to GIS, Introduction to Remote Sensing, Introduction to Cartography, and Introduction to GPS, and consequently advanced courses in those areas within this department. For students who are not pursuing further geographic information related courses, the techniques introduced in this class such as spatial analysis and map making will be powerful tools for students to apply in their further study or practices in domains such as business administration, social sciences, humanities, as well as emergency preparedness.

A USP 125 (= A GOG 125) The American City (3)
Provides a broad introduction to American urbanism from a geographical-historical perspective, focusing on spatial forms and the built environment, the social and economic processes that produced them, and their contested cultural meanings. Surveys the legacies of industrialization, immigration, planning interventions, and the struggles for rights by minorities and women, and poses questions about our urban future in an age of globalization, information technology, and environmental crisis.

A USP 201 (formerly 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 USP 220 (= A GOG 220) Introductory Urban Geography (3)
Introductory survey of findings and theory of urban  geography, which deals with the form and function of cities. Major themes include: history of urban form; spatial structure of modern urban systems; and the internal structure of the city, emphasizing social and economic patterns.

A USP 225/225Z (= A GOG 225/225Z & A GLO 225/225Z) World Cities: Geographies of Globalization (3)
This course takes a critical look at globalization and its impacts on cities around the world. Globalization includes an array of economic, cultural, and political forces that are effectively shrinking our world. The first part of the course focuses on the ways transnational movements or 'flows' of trade, finance, people and culture operate in and through a network of linked `global' cities, the top tier of which function as the `command and control' centers at the `core' of the global economy. The second part of the course shifts attention to the global `periphery' and to some of the lower tier cities of the world's urban hierarchy: in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The concern here will be to examine the local consequences of globalization in two overlapping realms. The first will involve looking for and at evidence of the less salutary effects of globalization forces in these cities: for example, higher levels of social and spatial inequality, deteriorating environmental and health conditions, diminished per-capita share of local resources and infrastructures, and cultural homogenization. The other realm will be an investigation of local activities that occur in response and as resistance to the pervasive forces of globalization. The goal here will be to document and evaluate the effectiveness of some of the local movements and organizations that have struggled for social justice in the face of what they perceive to be oppressive (global) economic and cultural forces. After taking A GOG/GLO/USP 225 students will be able to compare cities on the global 'periphery' with each other, as well as with those in the global 'core' to learn about and understand how some aspects of economic and cultural globalization play out and are adapted to `on the ground' and to think critically about how people might effectively organize their thoughts and exercise their rights to the city in the era of globalization. A GOG/A GLO/A USP 225Z are the writing intensive versions of A GOG/A GLO/A USP 225; only one version of A USP 225 may be taken for credit.

A USP 307 (= A GOG 307) Geospatial Applications of Drones (3)
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, have been developing very fast lately. More such systems will be acquired by government and non-government agencies in the near future. The acquisition of a drone may be an easy thing to do but running and managing the system may prove to be challenging for an ordinary user without prior knowledge in this field. There is quite a large amount of information now available on the UAS. However, most of such information focuses on either the engineering aspect of the aircraft or its army applications. Very little information is available on the geo-spatial utilization of UAS. This course is designed as a guide to UAS. It provides an introduction to the technology and operations made possible by it. In the course students will learn about the history, anatomy, applications, and future trends in UAS. Students will walk through the entire process of running an UAS which includes selection of the platform and payload for aerial mapping, complying with current and anticipated rules for UAS operation, conducting an aerial survey and post-processing the acquired imagery.

A USP 315Z (formerly 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 USP 201.

A USP 320 (formerly A PLN 320) (= A GLO 320) International Urban Planning (3)
Provides a general introduction to urban planning as it is practiced in various countries around the world, covering both developed and developing countries. Reviews the major challenges to urban planning posed by rapid urbanization, economic growth, and growing socio-economic inequalities. Presents planning case studies of specific cities and the major challenges that they face. Reviews the planning issues and potential solutions associated with downtown growth and revitalization, suburbanization, and the formation of major urban agglomerations. Prerequisite(s): A USP 201 or A GLO/A GOG/A USP 225 or permission of instructor.

A USP 324 (= A GOG 324) The City on Computer (3)
An introduction to the use of geographic technology  in studying urban features and patterns. The course provides a conceptual bridge between introductory courses in urban geography and specialized courses in geographic techniques. Students will acquire familiarity with relevant software, data sources and methods of analysis through regular computing laboratory assignments. Prerequisite(s): any two of the following: A GOG/A USP 125, 220,  225, A PLN  220, A USP 201.

A USP 325 (= A GOG 325 & A GLO 325) Global Urbanism and Culture (3)
This course explores contemporary debates on globalization, global urbanism and culture. It covers a series of themes central to cities, planning and public policy. These include among others: the role of culture in fostering multicultural cities, the relationships between urban sustainability and environmental planning, the geography of culture, the creative class, cultural industries, the arts and culture sector, local economies and place identity, cultural policies and urban regeneration programs, local and regional resilience networks, public space, local heritage, sense of belonging, community development, and global futures. Only one version of A USP 325 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A USP/A GOG/A GLO 225.

A USP 328 (formerly 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 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A GOG/A USP 125 or A USP 201, or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2018-2019.

A USP 330 (formerly A PLN 330Y) (= A GOG 330) 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 USP 330Y may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 101 and either A GOG 201 or A USP 201; or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2018-2019.

A USP 364Y (= A GLO 364Y & A GOG 364Y) India: Development Debates (3)
Analyzes the 20th and early 21st century development of India as a nation state, discussing the broad range of ideas and policy proposals relating to wealth, poverty, socio-economic development, urbanization, and nation-building. Reviews British colonial policies and attitudes, the ideas of important advocates of Indian Independence, the impact of partition, national self-reliance policies and national planning in the first three decades after Independence, and the more recent economic liberalizations and opening to the global market and transnational investment. Only one version may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): declared major or minor in Globalization Studies, Geography, Urban Studies & Planning, or minor in International Studies, or permission of instructor.

A USP 375 (formerly A PLN 375) (= A GOG 375) Methods of Urban Analysis (3)
This class will build a foundation for the larger 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 is successfully completed, students will be able to identify different types of data, accurately present data in table and graphic format, describe and analyze 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 USP 420 (formerly 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 USP 201 or permission of instructor.

A USP 425 (formerly 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/A USP 125 or A USP 201.

A USP 426 (formerly 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 USP 425. May not be offered in 2018-2019.

A USP 427Y (= A GOG 427Y) Human Factors in Geographic Information Science (3)
Building on previously learned knowledge and skills of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the course provides students with a further introduction to cognitive theories, designing principles, and evaluation methods that are related to GIS. As a very important 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 contributes to a better understanding of the efficiency of geographical information systems but also informs the design and development of cognitively efficient applications. Students will be actively involved in the design of practical sessions that strengthens their understanding of cognitive principles in empirical design and assessments. Prerequisite(s): at least one of A GOG 106, A GOG 290, and A GOG 496 or permission of instructor.       

A USP 430/430Z (formerly 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 USP 430 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A USP 201 or permission of instructor.

A USP 432 (formerly 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 USP 433Y (= A GOG 433Y) 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.       

A USP 436 (formerly 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 USP 201 and A GOG 101, or equivalent courses. May not be offered in 2018-2019.

A USP 437 (formerly 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 USP 201 and A GOG 101, or equivalents, and GIS (A GOG 496/A USP 456 or proficient ArcView or MapInfo user skills). May not be offered in 2018-2019.

A USP 443 (formerly A PLN 443) 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. Prerequisite(s): A USP 201 or permission of the instructor.

A USP 447 The Role of  Transportation in Emergency Preparedness (3)
Transportation systems play a vital role in everyday activities - but they become even more critical during and after an emergency. This course will highlight lessons learned and new techniques for preventing, monitoring, and preparing for future emergency events that impact transportation networks. Topics will include the new emphasis on the USDOT's Office of Transportation Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Information, and Emergency Coordination programs.

A USP 449 (formerly 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 USP 201 or permission of instructor.

A USP 451 (formerly 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 USP 452 (formerly A PLN 452) 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 USP 456 (formerly 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 USP 456 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): familiarity with maps and coordinate systems.

A USP 457 (= A GOG 498) 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: A GOG 496/A USP 456 or equivalent courses.

A USP 460 (formerly 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 USP 474 (formerly 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 USP 475 (formerly A PLN 475) 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. This course serves as a capstone for the Urban Studies and Planning Program. Prerequisite(s): A GOG/A USP 125 or A GOG/A USP 220 or A USP 201.

A USP 476 (formerly 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 USP 201.

A USP 480 (= A GOG 480) Advanced Urban Geography (3)
Explores some of the theoretical debates and empirical research conducted by geographers and planners interested in the contemporary city. Adopts a political/economy approach to the investigation of social problems currently  pervasive in the capitalist city, including: inner city poverty and the underclass, homelessness, gender-related issues, racial segregation; and crime problems. Prerequisite(s): A GOG 102 or A GOG 210 or A GOG/A USP 220.

A USP 485 (formerly 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 USP 201, and junior or senior standing.

A USP 490 (formerly 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 USP 201 and permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A USP 497 (formerly 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 USP 201, and junior or senior standing.