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Housing, Community and Economic Development Focus Area

Healthy cities and regions need affordable housing; safe, vibrant and diverse neighborhoods; and good jobs and public services. The tasks are complex and challenging: reconciling affluence and equity; mobility and a sense of place; global markets and local traditions; retaining manufacturing jobs while embracing post-industrial digital technologies; providing housing as both a market commodity and a social need. Moreover, these various tasks work best if interconnected: housing integrated into the larger neighborhood; economic activity embedded into local communities; and equal partnerships between public and private actors.

The Housing, Community, and Economic Development (HCED) focus area takes on these challenges through planning for housing, neighborhoods, and the economic well being of a community and the larger region. The goals are to increase social and economic capital and improve the quality of life generally but particularly in low-income, minority, and other disadvantaged communities.

Planners with this background work with local residents, neighborhood and community organizations, community development corporations, and nonprofit and for-profit housing developers, as well as for municipal, regional, state, and federal agencies and the private sector. Their work is directed toward securing decent, affordable housing; improving job opportunities; increasing safety; and restoring or maintaining community stability. They work for state departments of commerce or economic development, city departments and mayors' offices, and federal agencies to plan and implement development projects, strengthen tax base, improve employment opportunities, and enhance housing policy.

HCED is a broad focus area consisting of three tracks: housing; community development; and urban and regional economic development. HCED students may choose to specialize in one or more of these interrelated but distinctive tracks and do not need to take courses across all three areas. Students acquire knowledge of political, economic, and social systems that lead to urban growth and decline, low incomes, inadequate housing, unemployment, uneven development, deindustrialization, and poor neighborhoods. Students may further specialize in particular skills and techniques, such as: local and regional economic analysis; real estate finance and development; neighborhood planning; site planning; nonprofit management; public-private partnerships; and community participation (to facilitate an open planning process with people and organizations of multiple backgrounds and interests). 


Focus Area Course List

Foundational Courses

Housing and Community Development Tracks 

URP 580 Metropolitan Structure 
URP 581 Housing Policy and Economics
URP 582 Neighborhood Planning
URP 583 Race, Difference, and Social Justice
Economic Development Track
URP 580 Metropolitan Structure
URP 584 Introduction to Economic Development Planning 

Techniques / Methods Courses

Housing Track 

URP 555 Architect/Planner as Developer
URP 591 Financing Real Estate Development
URP 592 Real Estate Essentials
Economic Development Track
URP 522 Collaborative Planning
URP 523 Comparative Participatory Planning and Community Development
Economic Development Track 
URP 585 Economic Development Planning Methods
MO 672 Leading Nonprofit Organizations
PUBPOL 639 Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation
PUBPOL 686 State and Local Policy Analysis

Other Related Courses 

URP 522 Collaborative Planning
URP 525 Regional Planning
URP 532 Sustainability and Social Change
URP 533 Thinking about Crime
BA 612 Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid
BE 570 Tax Policy and Business
MO 512 Bargaining and Influence Skills
POLSCI 623 Proseminar in Municipal Problems
POLSCI 719 Racial Politics in the United States
PUBPOL 580 Values, Ethics, and Public Policy
PUBPOL 587 Public Management
PUBPOL 671 Policy and Management in the Non-Profit Sector
PUBPOL 730 Women and Employment Policy
PUBPOL 756 Local Government: Opportunity for Activism
SOC 530 Social Demography
STRAT 646 Solving Societal Problems Through Enterprise and Innovation
SW 560 Community Organization, Management and Policy/Evaluation Practice
SW 647 Policies and Services to Enhance Community Participation and Well-Being
SW 650 Community Development
SW 663 Grantgetting, Contracting, and Fundraising
SW 674 Community-Based Policy Advocacy

Other Opportunities Related to Housing, Community, and Economic Development

Dual degree in Social Work and Urban and Regional Planning
The student-initiated dual degree, M.U.R.P./M.S.W., enables students to study community planning in greater depth and to obtain two master's degrees in about three years of study.

Dual degree in Business Administration and Urban and Regional Planning
The M.B.A./M.U.R.P. degree provides much more extensive background for students who would like to work in urban revitalization through business development or in real estate development.

Dual degree in Public Policy and Urban and Regional Planning
The student-initiated dual M.U.R.P./M.P.P. degree provides the student with additional background for going into housing and economic development policy making at the state or the federal government levels.

Dual degree in Law and Urban and Regional Planning
The J.D./M.U.R.P. degree prepares students for community development advocacy, affordable housing development, and other areas related to the concentration.

Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development
This program admits students who want to gain the background for implementing development ideas to create better neighborhoods, stronger cities, and better housing. Many of the urban and regional planning students taking the certificate are concentrating in Housing, Community, and Economic Development.

The Non-Profit and Public Management Center
Students may also want to take courses associated with this program that prepares students to work in nonprofits and in government.

Faculty associated with the focus area

Scott Campbell (Focus Area Coordinator)
Lan Deng
Harley Etienne

Joe Grengs
Kimberley Kinder
Ana Paula Pimentel Walker
David Thacher
June Manning Thomas
Peter Allen (Lecturer)
Eric Dueweke (Lecturer)
Wendy Rampson (Lecturer)
Barry Checkoway (Affiliated, School of Social Work)

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning