Northwest Developments: Land Use, Economics and the Politics of Growth


Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

urban planning
management science, statistics

This two-quarter program focuses on Northwest communities from the perspective of public policy, land use and economics/personal finance. This program will be an eye opener for anyone who wonders why and how places develop. Where did that Walmart come from? Why did those trees get cut down for new homes? What will happen to that empty building? We will focus on the local decision making that shapes our built and natural environments while considering what types of development and redevelopment are more sustainable, both financially and environmentally.

As the Northwest continues to grow, we will consider the voices of property owners, renters, business owners and other community members who often have divergent views on growth, preservation, conservation and property rights. These perspectives will aid our understanding of public places from urban and suburban cities to less connected subdivisions or rural developments. What do we want our public and private spaces to look like? How do communities plan for and accommodate growth? How are progressive policies developed and financed? Comparisons to other communities, cities, states and countries (Germany in particular) will be examined and discussed.

Students will explore different communities' orientation to cars, transit, bicycles and pedestrians. Architecture and urban design aspects will round out our analysis. Class sessions will include lectures, workshops, films and field trips to Port Townsend and Seattle. The fall quarter will focus on the public policy, land use planning and economics necessary for students to conduct their own significant project during winter quarter. Seminar texts will offer a theoretical background in these issues as well as a look at some contemporary communities in the news.

During winter quarter, students will continue their theoretical learning while taking on an applied group project around community planning and economic development. Specifically, students will work in teams to prepare research or other solutions for selected urban and rural planning issues around Washington. These projects may involve group travel. With faculty support, students will hone their ability to work in teams and develop their presentation skills.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

government, public policy, economics, business, land use planning, community development and design.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
November 22nd, 2013 Preparatory work for students joining the program in winter quarter has been clarified.
May 7th, 2013 This program is now accepting enrollment of all class levels (Freshmen to Seniors).

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10092
So - Sr (16 credits): 10325

Go to to register for this program.


Accepting New Students


Students are expected to read these texts over break:  Crabgrass Frontier by Kenneth Jackson, Triumph of the City: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier and happier by Edward Glaeser and Basic Economics (chpts 1-11,17) by Sowell.  There will be catch up seminars the first week and there may be an exam to take the first day.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20068
So - Sr (16 credits): 20069
(1-16 credits): 20235

Go to to register for this program.

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