ESP 171 Urban and Regional Planning
Local Government Solutions
Topic Description due Thursday, 5/27 at noon
Draft paper due Tuesday, 6/1 in class
Paper due Friday, 6/4 at 3pm
The purpose of a “white paper” is to help policy makers understand a particular issue
and the possible options for addressing it.
According to Wikipedia, the term comes from
the UK, where it refers to papers issued by the government to lay out policy or a
proposed action on a topic of current concern.
In the US, the term is now often applied
to papers issued by non-governmental organizations and research institutes that are
designed to educate decisions makers and the public on key policy issues, to help them
better understand both the nature of the problem and the range of potential solutions.
In this assignment, you will write a 5-page white paper about a local planning issue of
Cities in California and across the U.S. are facing a host of planning-related problems,
issues, and pressures.
Many cities are concerned about the WalMart issue, for
when WalMart moves into a community, local businesses are affected, local
traffic patterns are affected, and air quality, water quality, and quality of life might all be
To address this issue and others, cities often turn to their traditional planning
tools – the general plan, the zoning ordinance, and the subdivision ordinance.
Increasingly, they make use of more innovative techniques, such as specific plans,
redevelopment plans, adequate public facilities ordinances, purchase of development
easements, etc. to achieve their goals.
As new problems arise, new techniques are
Different cities may be using different techniques to address the same
The effectiveness of these techniques may be well established or entirely
It is important for a community facing a particular issue to have some
understanding of what the potential solutions might be, as a step toward finding one
appropriate for its own particular situation.
Picking a Topic
Start by picking a topic.
I’ve given you lots of ideas in the table below.
of ideas for topics is the list of articles circulated by Planetizen each week.
also try skimming through recent issues of
magazine, available in Shields