Political Ecology of Land: Urban Planning, Property Rights, and Land Stewardship
Fall 2015, Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters
This yearlong upper-division program will provide an interdisciplinary, in-depth focus on how land has been viewed and treated by humans historically and in contemporary times. How can today’s built environments be explained, and what should be preserved? We will give special attention to the political, legal, economic, social/cultural, environmental, and justice contexts of land use. We will also look at land ethics, concepts of land ownership, and efforts to regulate land uses and protect lands that have been defined as valuable by society. We will consider more sustainable development patterns to accommodate population growth and improve public health, especially walkable urban density.
To understand the purpose of land use policy and regulation, the following topics and disciplines will be used to evaluate the human treatment of land, primarily in the United States: history and theory of land use planning; economic and community development; the structure and function of American government and federalism; public policy formation and implementation; contemporary land use planning and growth management; elements of environmental and land use law; economics; fiscal analysis of state and local governments; and selected applications of qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Our goal is to have students leave the program with a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of issues surrounding land use planning, restoration, urban redevelopment, stewardship, conservation, and the specific skills sets required for professional level work in this dynamic field.
The program will include lectures, seminars, guest speakers, films, workshops and in-class simulations (e.g., a mock public hearing), field trips in western Washington and individual and group research projects and presentations. Students will also acquire professional writing skills through instruction and practice in formats such as the policy briefing paper. Fall quarter will focus on developing an understanding of the political and economic history that brought about the need for land use regulation. This will include understanding the political, legal, theoretical, and economic context. Winter and spring quarters will continue these themes into contemporary applications and the professional world of land use planning, such as understanding the legislative and public policy processes in Washington at the state and local government levels, major policies such as the Washington State Growth Management Act, historic preservation, and economic development. During spring quarter, additional subtopics of interest to the program will be explored through major group projects and presentations or internships. Students will leave the program with credits for an emphasis in land use planning—an excellent preparation for potential professional careers and the prerequisites for many graduate programs in land use planning, public administration, and public policy.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day