Political Ecology of Land: Urban Planning, Property Rights, and Land Stewardship


Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters

Taught by

This program will provide an interdisciplinary, in-depth focus on how land has been viewed and used by humans historically and in contemporary times. We will attempt to understand today’s built environments from a variety of perspectives and determine how they can they accommodate new challenges, including environmental, economic, financial and fiscal constraints. We will give special attention to the political, legal, economic, financial, and social/cultural contexts of land use. We will look at and evaluate efforts to regulate land uses and protect lands that have been defined as valuable by society.

To understand the purpose of land use policy and regulation, the following topics and disciplines will be used to evaluate the human relationship to land in the United States: the structure and function of American Government; the history and theory of land use planning; economic and community development; public policy formation and implementation; contemporary land use planning practices; growth management; selected elements of environmental and land use law; regional economics; fiscal analysis; and accounting principles applied to the public sector and non-profit/non-governmental organizations. Selected applications of quantitative research methods will be developed throughout the program.  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, public sector accountability and resource management (eg. budgeting, accounting, annual reports).

The program will include lectures, seminars, guest speakers, workshops, field trips, and individual and group research projects and presentations. Students will acquire professional writing skills through instruction and practice in formats such as policy briefing papers. Students will develop an understanding of the political and economic history that brought about the need for land use regulation. This will include understanding the political, legal, economic and financial context of the public sector. Students will apply these themes to contemporary applications and the professional world of land use planning, such as understanding the legislative and public policy processes in Washington State, major policies such as the Washington State Growth Management Act, The Shoreline Master Program, Historic Preservation, and economic development. During spring quarter, we will develop an in-depth understanding of budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sectors, as well as the increasing importance of fiscal impact analysis.  Students will leave the program with credits for an emphasis in land use planning, public policy, accounting and public sector fiscal and financial management—an excellent preparation for potential professional careers and the prerequisites for many graduate programs in land use/urban planning, public administration, public policy and private sector work in consulting firms and non-governmental organizations.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

government, urban planning, architecture, non-profit sector, public/environmental policy, and economic development.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: First winter class meeting: Tuesday, January 5 at 1pm (Sem II E1105)

Final Schedule and Room Assignment


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.


Date Revision
November 10th, 2015 Jennifer Gerend has left the teaching team. Jon Baumunk will join the program spring quarter. The description has been updated.
April 23rd, 2015 This program will be winter-spring.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 20174

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Signature Required

New students must meet with faculty prior to enrolling and perform make-up work.

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 30054

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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