History of Urbanism Seminar
This seminar explores the processes of industrialization and urbanization in the U.S. and abroad. This historical examination of economic, social, and demographic forces that have shaped urban spaces, emphasizes the physical environment of place and patterns, problems and opportunities associated with urban growth.
Policy Analysis Seminar
Introduces students to the basic principles and concepts of policy analysis through practical examples involving urban public policy issues. Policy analysis includes both the exploration of problem-solving and policy-design processes. The course considers the use of particular policy tools including regulation, inducements, subsidies, regulation, contracting and privatization.
Urban Politics and Sociology Seminar
This course investigates the social, economic and political processes that inform the contemporary American city. It explores the foundations of urban sociology and analyzes the current theoretical trajectories used to understand the urban world. It also examines the processes by which urban areas are governed – with an emphasis on political institutions, as well as conflicts over ideology, interests and identities.
Research Methods in Urban Affairs
Students are introduced to a range of research methodologies drawn from both the qualitative and quantitative traditions. Students develop an understanding of the various decisions and steps involved in crafting applied social research and are enabled to critically assess published research. This course places particular emphasis on the use of GIS in urban affairs research.
Community-Based Research Seminar (6 units)
Community-based research is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves community members, organization representatives and academic researchers in all aspects of the research process. Community-based research increases knowledge and understanding of what is being studied. It integrates the knowledge gained with interventions and policy changes that enhance the health and quality of life of community members. This core course examines sound, ethical and rigorous methodologies to prepare students for projects driven by community-identified needs and priorities in order to address relevant questions, build programs and affect public policy.
Research Prospectus (2 units)
Students write their Master’s Capstone Project prospectus, establish the significance and scope of the project, frame research questions and expected research methods, and present a preliminary review of the relevant academic literatures. The course involves considerable peer review and feedback.
Urban Affairs Internship
This intensive internship is required for completion of the degree. Students are expected to successfully complete 400 hours working with a public affairs organization including political campaigns, advocacy organizations, governmental agencies, community or neighborhood associations, or other similar entity. This internship is arranged, facilitated and directed by faculty along with an on-site supervisor.
Master’s Capstone Project
Master’s degree candidates propose, design and implement a substantial and professional-caliber project intended to integrate concepts, skills and methods learned in their coursework into a written paper. Topics are designed in conjunction with the internship experience and provide evidence that the degree candidate has mastered the skills and knowledge learned in coursework and can apply them to the analysis of a practical urban affairs situation.
Elective Courses (select 4 courses)
Public Policy Process
Analysis of the politics, institutions, norms and actors involved in the agenda-setting, legitimation, decision-making and implementation of public policy. Students learn leading theoretical models for understanding the policy process, and assess how to use analytical and conceptual frameworks in applying policy to real-world issues.
Non-Profits and Public Policy
This class explores the role of nonprofit organizations in the formation and implementation of public policy in the U.S. Topics include an introductory review of public policy process, lobbying and advocacy, building organizational capacity to participate in public policy, government regulation of nonprofit organizations, developing advocacy campaigns, public policy analysis, ballot initiatives, ethics in public interest lobbying, grant-making for public policy and challenges to nonprofit advocacy.
Race, Organizing and Policy Advocacy: Community Strategies for Urban Power
Students examine historical and contemporary social movement organizations and strategies to demand social and political change. The course surveys both theory and research on social change and the role of identity politics on effective organizing and advocacy work. It includes a focus on labor, civil rights, feminism, gay/lesbian rights and environmental organizing and activism, among other topics.
As globalization accelerates, the world becomes smaller and is transformed to an extended urban network, generating a global hierarchy of place. This class critically investigates this single, interdependent urban world. To a large degree, the developed world is highly urbanized and is experiencing increased urbanization far differently from places in the rapidly urbanizing developing world where social and economic dislocations are more pronounced. Students are introduced to processes of urbanization that occur in places outside of the U.S., and compares the urban form, socio-economic and political realities in cities around the world.
Critical Issues in Globalization, Sustainability and Social Justice
his class is an introduction to the critical issues in contemporary urban analysis. It explores the origins of globalization and its contemporary manifestations, including trade and investment policies, growing multinational corporate power, decreased relevance of political and institutional borders, reduced government regulation and the impact on local communities. Social, environmental and economic impacts of globalization are considered, as well as the origin and development of the concept of sustainability, and movements for social justice. The course incorporates perspectives from multiple disciplines: geography, economics, planning and sociology, in particular.
Urban Political Economy
Urban political economy focuses specifically on the relationship between the local, state and global capital. It considers classical questions of urban political theory to provide an overarching framework for this course: who governs and in whose interests? This longstanding debate questions whether capital dominates the local state and wields undue influence in agenda setting and policy making or whether local governments have the institutional capacity to negotiate with business and regulate the local economy. Classics of urban political economy are studied - ones that raise both empirical and normative concerns about urban political economy.
Public Finance and Fiscal Management
This course examines the various public financial management techniques used by all levels of government, with an emphasis on understanding local governmental budgets and budgeting; capital budgeting; cash and debt management; accounting; and auditing.
Students are introduced to the wide array of management challenges and needs of non-profit, non-governmental organizations. It considers the role of the executive director and non-profit leadership; the role of non-profits boards; volunteer and staff relations; personnel administration; budgeting and financial management; fund raising and fiscal sustainability; strategic planning; and community organizing and activism.
Urban and Regional Planning
An elective seminar that provides a framework for understanding urban and regional planning in the U.S., as well as prominent theories of urban planning and current practice. The course is intended for those students considering a career in urban and regional planning, or who anticipate working with planning policies and institutions in pursuit of other policy objectives.
Non-Profits and Philanthropy
The elective course focuses on the voluntary action, service and philanthropy as mechanisms for social change and provides an overview of the nonprofit sector and the role of philanthropy in the U.S. Particular attention is paid to the historical and theoretical foundations of philanthropy, its various components and relation to public policy, and emerging trends within the field including social entrepreneurship and the role of social media in philanthropy.
Urban Politics in San Francisco
San Francisco’s political history has been shaped by economic boom and decline. This seminar examines the politics of economic development in San Francisco, with a focus on housing and the social consequences of economic growth. This focus requires an examination of the broader dynamics of political conflict in the city, including the history of political organizing around neighborhood and district issues, and the difficult choices faced by those in public agencies and elected office.
Policy Theme Classes
Each iteration of this seminar focuses on a distinct and timely urban policy issue including: transportation, housing, economic development and environmental sustainability. The course provides an introduction to the field, with a focus on central, public-policy challenges, as well as consideration of best practices and emerging trends in the field. Students produce a significant research brief or white paper designed for public consumption.
Approval of Program Director and Dean is required. Offered each semester.