This course assesses the changing role of public policy in American cities. In the past, government often believed that it could direct urban development. New realities - the rise of an informal labor market, global capital and labor flows, the flight of businesses and the middle class to the suburbs - have demonstrated that government must see itself as one - but only one - 'player' in a more complete, transactional process of policy making that crosses political boundaries and involves business, organized interest groups, and citizens.
This seminar uses a case-study method to study how public policy can make a difference in the revitalization of distressed American cities. The seminar is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Seminar readings and projects will be organized around three themes: 1) history and vision, 2) data and analysis, and 3) policy and implementation. Students will be divided into project teams assigned to work on current development issues that will be reviewed by both public and private-sector experts. Extensive use will be made of real estate, economic development, and social indicator data to understand the complex forces at work in both large and small cities. Students will learn to access, analyze, and map information; to frame and interpret these data within a regional perspective; and to construct profiles of cities and neighborhoods. Students will study recent urban redevelopment initiatives in the Philadelphia region, including Philadelphia's Neighborhood Transformations Initiative and New Jersey's Camden Revitalization plans.