USP/PLSI 480: INTRODUCTION TO
URBAN POLICY AND ANALYSIS (4 units)
Office: HSS 136
Office Hours: Tuesdays 4:15-5:30pm
or by appointment
About the subject
‘Public policy’ commonly refers to decisions made by the government, at various
levels and by its various agencies, to guide development and the public realm, in general, in
an efficient and equitable manner.
Public policy usually manifests itself as laws, rules, and
It is required to address specific problems and issues in society in ways such
that the intended benefits are maximized.
Tough choices regarding morals, values,
ideologies, and politics have to be made in the creation of public policy.
associated with the public sector, public policy is now also increasingly becoming important
to the nonprofit and corporate sectors.
‘Policy analysis’, as the name suggests, involves analyzing public policies with the
intention of critically assessing extant policies and continually improving them. This usually
requires considering alternative policy measures.
Since the 1960s, policy analysis has
evolved into a distinct professional field, with its own professional associations, scholarly
journals, and degree programs in universities.
Policy analysts work for the government,
independent think-tanks, nonprofit organizations, multilateral institutions, as well as in
private consulting firms.
Although all policy analysis is founded on common principles,
and policy analysts speak a similar language, nevertheless, one can specialize in analyzing
policy in a specific area such as education, public health, the environment, transportation,
energy, security, international trade, foreign affairs, etc.
In this course, we will focus on understanding and analyzing
urban public policy
– policies impacting developmental, socio-economic, and environmental issues
Major debates in urban public policy address land use, transportation,
environmental protection, housing, community development, crime and security, and other
such areas that affect the lives of urban residents.
This course will familiarize upper division undergraduate students with the common
language (framework and tools) and logic of policy analysis, along with special attention to
its application to urban policy.
It will also help them develop some fundamental analytical
skills which they can apply toward more informed decision making. The course covers
generic methods of policy analysis as well as discusses challenges of crafting unique policy
solutions for local-level urban policy problems at the local level.
Course readings will cover
certain key urban public policy issues at different levels (local, state, national, and
international), and responses to them.
The course will enable the student to appreciate