San Jos� State University - URBP 200

Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning

Asha Weinstein - Fall 2004

Course objectives

The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the history of city planning and the basic theoretical ideas that underlie city planning practice. Although practicing planners are not always directly aware of it, their everyday work is heavily influenced by theories of how and why planners plan, as well as professional institutions and conventions that have developed over time. Thus, the readings, assignments, and lectures are all designed to encourage students to reflect on the ways that planning theory and history apply to the work of contemporary professional planners.

The first few sessions of the course cover the origins and history of American city planning. We also look at the history of the city of San Jose in detail. Later sessions introduce the historical evolution of theories about why and how we plan, the role of citizen participation, and the ethics of planning. These sessions also provide an overview of the evolution of planning practice throughout the 20th century. The remaining sessions present an overview of some of the major sub-fields of planning: planning for housing, local government finance, transportation, environmental sustainability, public spaces, redevelopment, and growth management.

The readings have been selected to provide an overview of the issues being studied, as well as to expose students to such classic writers in the field as Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, Paul Davidoff, and Kenneth T. Jackson.

Class meetings

Mondays, 4:00 � 6:45 p.m., in Sweeney Hall 411.

Instructor contact information

Phone: (408) 924-5853
Office: Room 218C in Washington Square Hall

- Course website:
- Instructor website:

Office hours: Mondays and Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. � 12:00 p.m.



The required course reader is available at Unique Printing for $15.00. Unique Printing is located at 109 Santa Clara Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets (phone 408-297-6698). I will also hand out a small number of additional articles in class, and at times I may ask you to read material available on the web. If you miss a class, check the course website for any changes to the readings assigned for the following week.


I recommend subscribing to two very good email lists:

Course assignments and expectations

Your grade for the course will be based primarily on an individual writing assignment (broken into two parts), weekly memos, and a group project:

Personal reflections assignment 40%
     Part A: Planning commission meeting analysis (20%)  
     Part B: Ethics analysis (20%)  
City history (group project) 40%
Weekly memos 20%

Class participation

I do not give formal credit for class participation, but students should plan to attend all classes and participate fully in discussions and class exercises. In rare cases where a student misses significant numbers of lectures, this will impact the final course grade.

Weekly memos 

For 11 of the class sessions there is an associated memo assignment. The memos will help you to think about the readings in advance of each class, so as to stimulate your thinking, as well as prepare you for productive in-class discussions. Students should choose at least 8 to turn in. (I recommend that you do them all, but only 8 are required).

Due dates and grading policies are as follows:

Turning in graded assignments (the personal reflections assignment and group project)

Rewrite policy

You have the option of rewriting both pieces of the personal reflections assignment. However, if you do so, please be advised of the following:

Citing sources properly (and avoiding plagiarism)

Plagiarism is the use of someone else�s language, images, data, or ideas without proper attribution. It is a very serious offense both in the university and in your professional work. In essence, plagiarism is both theft and lying: you have stolen someone else�s ideas, and then lied by implying that they are your own.

Plagiarism will lead to grade penalties and a record filed with the department chair. It may also result in your failing the course and/or having the incident permanently noted in your SJSU student records.

If you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism, it is your responsibility to make sure you clarify the issues before you hand in written work.

Learning when to cite a source and when not to is an art, not a science. However, here are some examples of plagiarism that you should be careful to avoid:

The University of Indiana has developed a very helpful website with concrete examples about proper paraphrasing and quotation. See in particular:

On the last page listed, you will find a quiz to test how well you understand proper paraphrasing. 

If you still have questions after reading these pages, feel free to talk to the instructor personally. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, whereas even unintentional plagiarism is a serious offense.

If you have questions about the official SJSU policy on plagiarism, please read the �Policy on Academic Dishonesty� at In addition, the �Academic Dishonesty Procedures� are available in any SJSU Schedule of Classes.

Course citation style

When you cite another author�s work in any written assignments, use footnotes and a bibliography following the �Turabian� style:

Please note that Turabian�s book describes two systems for referencing materials: (1) footnotes or endnotes, plus a corresponding bibliography, and (2) in-text parenthetical references, plus a corresponding reference list. Be sure to use the first system (footnotes and a bibliography) for all work you turn in to me during the semester.


If you have a disability and need special accommodations, please see me at the beginning of the semester so that we can work out a plan for your successful completion of the course.

Course schedule as of 8/24/04 (subject to change)

Week 1: August 30

Topics: Introductions; Course description; What is planning?

Reading: None

(No class on September 6: Labor Day)

Week 2: September 13

Topics: Planning history I - early American city planning; on-line research (in WSH #208)


In-class handouts

Week 3: September 20

Topics: Planning history II - zoning, general plans, planning commissions; group meetings (30 minutes)


Week 4: September 27

Topics: San Jose history I � guest Terry Christensen, SJSU; planning theory I - how and when to plan


Week 5: October 4

Topic: San Jose history II � Downtown tour with guest: Beth Wyman

Reading: Handout from Beth Wyman

Due: City History I

Week 6: October 11

Topic: Planning theory II - planning ethics; group meetings (20 minutes)


Week 7: October 18

Topic: Planning theory III - citizen participation


Due: Planning ethics analysis

Week 8: October 25

Topics: Housing; race in planning; planning public spaces (introduction)


Due: City history II

Week 9: November 1

Topic: Planning public spaces, cont.; group meetings (30 minutes)


Week 10: November 8

Topic: Local government finance


Due: Planning commission meeting analysis

Week 11: November 15

Topic: Redevelopment, with guests: Jim Hines and Ruth Shikada, San Jose Redevelopment Agency


Week 12: November 22

Topics: Transportation planning; environmental planning


Due: City history III

Week 13: November 29

Topic: Growth management with guest Don Weden, former Comprehensive Planning Manager, Santa Clara County


Week 14: December 6

Topics: Giving presentations; group meetings (1.5 hours)

Reading: None

Exam period: December 13 (5:15 � 7:30 p.m., or TBD)

Due: City history presentations and final papers

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Page last updated 4 October 2004