URPL Courses

Fall 2018 Courses + Schedule

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All students must satisfactorily complete 7 core courses:

URPL 590(1) Pre-Workshop Module. (1 cr.) This five-week class taken at the beginning of the spring semester must be taken the semester before taking URPL 912 Planning Workshop. 

URPL 721 Methods of Planning Analysis. (3 cr.) This course is designed to familiarize students with research methods and statistical analysis used in addressing planning problems. Specific topics include conceptualization, design and implementation of planning research, statistical methods for analyzing data including review of hypothesis testing, multiple regression, demographic projection techniques, and methods of community economic analysis. First year URPL students should enroll in this course. P: Graduate standing and an introductory (undergraduate) course in statistics.

URPL 741 Introduction to Planning. (3 cr.) This course introduces students to the profession and practice of urban and regional planning. It both reviews the history of planning in the United States and considers more recent ideas, movements, and trends that shape contemporary planning practice. The institutional and governmental contexts in which planners work and issues planners deal with in practice are examined – with an emphasis on the practice of planning at the local government level. Students are introduced to some of planning's regulatory tools, such as zoning. Additional topics include planning roles and styles. Guest lecturers (mostly URPL graduates who are local planning practitioners) relate theory and practice to communicate the challenges of planning in a complex and changing world. P: Graduate standing. Enrollment restricted to students in Urban and Regional Planning; others only with permission of the instructor and on a space permitting basis.

URPL 781 Planning Thought and Practice. (3 cr.) A seminar on the purposes and nature of public sector planning. We will deal with such issues as: the rationales for planning, models of the planning process, alternative conceptions of planners’ roles, planning as professional activity, and the future scope and form of planning. The utility of planning theory for the practitioner will be stressed, using students’ experiences in internships and workshop as one of the bases for class assignments and discussion. P: URPL students in second year or beyond; other students with instructor permission. (URPL students in their final semester must take this if they have not already.)

URPL 833 Planning and the Legal System. (3 cr.) The practice of planning interacts with the law and the legal system in many ways. The law helps to articulate rules within which the institutional framework for planning occurs. The law also authorizes the use of certain tools for implementing plans. Planners are often responsible for administering a variety of different laws. As a result, the law can significantly influence what a planner does. This course will help de-mystify the legal system for planners and help students better understand the interactions of planning and the legal system. The course will provide an overview of the fundamental areas of the law that influence planning including constitutional law, administrative law; local government law; real estate law; property law; contract law; public finance law; natural resources and environmental law; and the public regulation of land use. The course will also cover some of the fundamentals of legal research. P: Graduate standing. This class meets-with LAW 830 Land Use Controls.

URPL 912 Planning Workshop. (3 cr. + 1 cr. module) A preliminary synthesizing experience that gives students the opportunity to apply newly acquired skills in socioeconomic analysis, physical planning and implementation in real world settings. Topics selected emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of planning practice. The entire class works on one or more specific planning projects. This course is preceded by a one credit professional practice module. This class is only offered in the Fall semester, and must be taken after Pre-Workshop the previous spring.

Structure and functions of cities and regions. (3 cr.) Students, in consultation with their advisor, can select one 3 credit course from the following list of relevant courses:

  • URPL 601 Site Planning. The built environment is transformed incrementally by site-scale land development and redevelopment projects. This transformation involves physical changes to both private and public property. Managing these changes (i.e., guiding the location, form, and character of development) requires informed public oversight. Theory:  This course examines basic concepts and principles (i.e., theory) of physical planning at the site scale. Design concerns include building massing and placement, circulation (pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle, transit), lighting, landscaping, and storm water management.The effect of site design on public health, safety, and welfare is another concern. Practice:  The hands-on aspects of this course vary from semester to semester, but are often associated with a community-based service-learning project. Typically, these projects provide opportunities to gain experience with: a) the site planning process (e.g., site selection, site analysis); b) site plan review (i.e., critiquing the designs of (re)development proposals); c) graphic communication for physical planning. P: Sr st cons inst or Grad st.
  • URPL 611 Urban Design: Theory & Practice. This course critically examines the public health, safety, and welfare implications of urban design over multiple spatial scales (e.g., buildings, streets and blocks, neighborhoods, districts). Classic and contemporary literature on the theory and practice of urban design are critically reviewed. Emphasis is placed on the design of three fundamental components of the built environment: buildings, transportation networks, and open space systems. A design background is not required. P: Senior standing or graduate status.
  • URPL 731 Introduction to Regional Planning. The concept of regional planning has a long and interesting history in the United States. Many planning issues transcend the jurisdictional boundaries of government. This course will provide an examination of the institutional framework (both historical and contemporary) of the different levels of government within which regional planning occurs. Examples include service sharing agreements between adjacent local units of government, the structure and role of metropolitan planning organizations in transportation planning, multi-state/international efforts like the Great Lakes Compact, and more! We will examine concepts of regional planning through case studies of regional planning experiences related to transportation, natural resources, housing, growth management, economic development, cultural, etc. While the focus of the course is on the United States, the course will explore the practice of regional planning in other countries to provide a comparative context. This course will include a field trip to the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area, a national leader in regional governance/planning, to see regional planning in action. P: Preference will be giving to Urban and Regional Planning students. Non-URPL majors can request permission to enroll from the instructor. This course is taught every other year.
  • URPL 734 Regional Economic Problem Analysis. Development of skills in the economic analysis of regions. Examination of major theories of regional economic development, with special emphasis on the evolution and amelioration of regional economic problems. Selected techniques of regional analysis, including economic base multipliers, input-output models, and efficiency assessments, are used in the context of setting regional development goals. P: Grad st.
  • URPL 751 Introduction to Financial Planning. An introduction to the theory and practice of state and local financial planning with emphasis on the functional importance of expenditures; special problems in financing city and metropolitan governments; intergovernmental fiscal relations and the use of various budgetary techniques as integral parts of the planning process. P: Grad st or cons inst.
  • URPL 761 Central City Planning: Issues and Approaches. A dual emphasis: (1) Important social, economic, environmental, and fiscal trends affecting larger, older American cities; critical policy issues confronting central city decision-makers; and major programmatic responses to these issues. (2) How planning is and might be structured and carried out to deal with the issues and problems of older American cities. P: Grad st. 
  • URPL 839 Transportation and Infrastructure Systems Planning. This graduate-level seminar will focus on integrating land use, transportation and environmental planning. Readings have been selected to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the economic, social, and regulatory forces that influence land use and transportation investments in metropolitan regions. P: Grad st cons inst.
  • URPL 841 Planning for the Ecological City. This course is designed to familiarize students with ecological processes, strategies for “designing with nature,” planning responses to environmental problems in the United States, and geospatial environmental data and technologies in order to analyze issues related to ecological land development. Our weekly meetings are based on a seminar and a hands-on format. During the seminars, we will have individual presentations and discussions around weekly readings. The hands-on meetings are primarily designated for obtaining and analyzing geospatial environmental data where we cover a range of tools. We also visit sites to learn about innovative ecological planning in the region. P: Instructor consent required. An introductory course (or equivalent experience) in geographic information systems. We will not spend time reviewing GIS fundamentals, so if you are interested but don't have the background, please talk to prof. and see dpla.wisc.edu/studentresources/gis.
  • URPL 844 Housing and Public Policy. An overview of the major federal, state, and local policies affecting housing, including discussions of public, private, and non-profit housing delivery sectors. Includes discussions of residential land development trends, affordable housing production, housing demographics, mortgage markets, housing finance, and fair housing. Course also includes content on housing planning and housing elements in local government comprehensive plans, housing needs assessments, integration of housing and transportation accessibility, and a discussion of exclusionary zoning and restrictive land use controls. P: Graduate standing.

See UW–Madison Guide for Other Graduate Level Courses