Introduction to Community and Economic Development
Thursdays 9:00 am to 12:20 pm
Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
Instructor: Prof. Donald Spivack (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Office Hrs: By Appointment
How do cities and regions grow and why? Why are some places bastions of vitality and other places wastelands of urban decay? Do the explanations for success change over time? Theories of economic development attempt to understand what variables produce—or fail to produce—great places. These explanations often change with each new decade and with dramatic shifts in how our economy works, or is thought to work. This course will survey some of the classical theories along with more contemporary discussions of community and economic development. From discussion of colonization, resource extraction, export theory and industrial specialization to more current arguments focused on human capital, amenities and knowledge exchange, this course will give an overview of economic development theory and practice. Through the course readings and research project this course will allow you to draw your own conclusions on the age-old discussion of what makes particular cities and regions economically and socially dynamic, and what steps can be taken to foster positive sustainable development and mitigate adverse impacts of community and economic activity.
This course will provide a contextual understanding of the political, social, and economic forces of change that shape the development and community life of urban areas. Students will understand the challenges of developing local economies in ways that enhance and sustain the quality of community life. There will be an emphasis on analysis of policies and development of programs and techniques in the areas of business and locality development, workforce development, asset-based community development, and housing policy.
This course is both theoretical and practical. You will learn some of the most important theoretical debates in economic development along with reading about how they work in practice. You will also have your chance, through the group project, to merge theory and practice. The course requires extensive reading, case preparation, analytic writing, and class debate. The curriculum is structured to orient students to the political and sociological context of community and economic development. The goal is to develop the skills and understanding to work toward more sustainable, livable, and vibrant urban communities.
Learning objectives. This course is intended to provide an introductory survey of issues and frameworks for students interested in the community and economic development specialization. Specifically, the course will address the following questions and learning objectives:
Context for community economic development. To understand how economic, social, and political forces shape local communities and influence urban policy making regarding local growth and development. To consider how this context shapes such issues as economic stability, community health, social/civic capacity, sense of place, and racial/cultural relations.
Instruments for economic and community development. To gain facility with the instruments (principles, tools, and techniques) for carrying out local economic and community development, their effectiveness, and their impacts on local communities.
Functional policy applications. To learn about the issues, principles, and methods/instruments for managing local growth and development in a variety of functional areas, such as land use and transportation, housing, municipal infrastructure, public health and social policy (jobs, education, and culture).
Critical and ethical reasoning. To understand the nuances of normative considerations brought to bear in economic development (e.g., equity, efficiency, sustainability, cultural issues). To come to terms with the difficult tradeoffs--political, economic, and ethical--involved in urban economic development.
Tradecraft. To polish skills required for entrepreneurial community development, including: (1) research and critical reasoning abilities; (2) application of economic development tools; and (3) professional writing and speaking skills.
1. Preparation and participation. Students must attend class regularly and prepare for participation in class discussion. Class participation counts and you will be graded for it!
2. Short memo exercise: Students will complete one short (5-6 double spaced pages) individually written memo assignment: A brief outline of an economic development issue and the debates surrounding it; you may cite examples in cities and regions or focus on a particular city.
3. Understanding current economic development issues: Students are required to bring in newspaper and magazine articles related to current economic development issues 2-3 times a semester. These articles can be on issues from anywhere in the world but it is important that during the course of the semester everyone gets a sense of what’s going on in economic development in the world today. We will not assign particular students each week, however, bringing in articles will be a part of your class participation grade.
4. Staff report. Students will work in groups of three to five as consultants for the City of Los Angeles with a focus on South Los Angeles. You will undertake an analysis of this sub-region looking at the social, economic and demographic characteristics of this portion of the city. You will then analyze current economic development strategies that the city is undertaking affecting this area and assess whether these are effective strategies. Drawing from case studies in other cities, you will incorporate both the results that such initiatives have had thus far on the region (and other regions/sub-areas) and you will assess the “fit” of such strategies with your own socio-economic analysis of the target area. Is South Los Angeles fully maximizing its strengths? Is it chasing after industries, development goals or people or jobs that are not matched with the current population? Is it then seeking to attract a different work force? What are the implications for current residents? You will tie your analysis in with relevant debates and theories that we are reading in class, and develop recommended courses of action, which may include alternative strategies, targeted industrial or business sectors, and/or geographic areas of focus.
5. Issue briefing. In addition to the staff report, students will communicate their group project findings in two different formats: a 25-30 minute group presentation to the class using PowerPoint technology, and (2) an individual “briefer” that is written for circulation to a lay audience. The briefer can take the form of a memo, a pamphlet or a summary but should cover the main findings of your work and should not exceed 2 single-spaced pages in content.
Requirements and Grading:
Assignment Length Deadline Percent of Grade
Short memo #1: issue diagnosis 5-6 pp. dbl. February 11th 20 (ind)
Sheltered Workshop Project
Power point presentation April 21st/28th 15 (grp)
Political briefer 1-2pg April 21st/28th 10 (grp)
Final staff report 20-25 dbl. April 29th 35 (grp)
Preparation/class participation/group work 20 (ind)
Form and style: The memo assignments and final staff report must be double spaced, and issue briefer must be single spaced. All assignments must be written in plain, concise prose, as described in Strunk and White's Elements of Style. All citations must be in APA format.
Policy on late and missing assignments: Late assignments will be graded down substantially, and a passing grade will not be assigned unless all assignments are completed.
Syllabus revision. The instructor will regularly assess progress and solicit student feedback regarding the course. If necessary the syllabus will be revised mid-semester to make it more suitable.
Academic integrity: Students should maintain strict adherence to standards of academic integrity, as described in SCampus (http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/SCAMPUS/). In particular, the University recommends strict sanctions for plagiarism, defined below:
A. The submission of material authored by another person but represented as the student's own work, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.
B. The submission of material subjected to editorial revision by another person that results in substantive changes in content or major alteration of writing style.
C. Improper acknowledgment of sources in essays or papers.
Note: Culpability is not diminished when plagiarism occurs in drafts which are not the final version.
Also, if any material is prepared or submitted by another person on the student's behalf, the student is
expected to proofread the results and is responsible for all particulars of the final draft.
Source: SCampus University Governance; http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/SCAMPUS/governance/gov05.html
The recommended sanctions for academic integrity violations are attached by reference to this syllabus, as is the “Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism,” from USC’s Expository Writing Program. If you have any questions about academic integrity or citation standards, please ask in advance.
Academic accommodations. Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to the instructor as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open early 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.
Blakely, Edward and Leigh-Green, Nancy (2010). Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice. 4th Edition. London: Sage Publications, Inc.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cites. New York: Random House, 1961.
Glaeser, Edward, The Triumph of the City. New York: Penguin Press, 2011
Articles on Blackboard and Online
All assigned journal articles can be accessed through USC libraries and Google Scholar. If at USC, they can be downloaded right away. If accessing remotely, log on to USC libraries to access the journal.
1. Go over the syllabus
2. What is economic development? Class discussion.
What Do We Mean By Economic Development?
Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Theories That Don't Work. In Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty (pp. 45-69). New York: Crown. (On Blackboard)
Currid-Halkett, E., and K. Stolarick. 2011. “The Great Divide: Economic Development Theory Versus Practice-A Survey of the Current Landscape.” Economic Development Quarterly 25 (2): 143.
(need to log-in USC library)
Glaeser Chapter 1: What Do They Make in Bangalore?
2. Institutions and Definitions
Blakely and Leigh-Green: Chapters 1&2
3. The Theory and the Players
Blakely and Leigh-Green: Chapters 3&5
Wolff, Goetz: “Policy and Community in Los Angeles Development”. Sloane, David C., Editor, Planning Los Angeles. APA, Chicago, IL 2012, Chapter 7. (On Blackboard)
4. Go over first assignment: Memo on Economic Development Issue.
Success and Failure
1. Economic Development in Decline
Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). The Making of Poverty and Prosperity. In Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty (pp. 70-95). New York: Crown. (On Blackboard)
Glaeser, Chapter 2: Why Do Cities Decline?
2. The Secrets to Success?: Human Capital, Creativity and Clusters
Porter Michael, "Clusters and the New Economics of Competition," Harvard Business Review, November-December 1998, pp. 77-90. (On Blackboard)
Glaeser, Chapter 9: How Do Cities Succeed?
Porter, Michael (1995). “The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City.” Harvard Business
Review 35: pp. 55-71. (On Blackboard)
Florida, Richard. “The Rise of the Creative Class: Why Cities Without Gays and Rockbands are Losing the Economic Development Race”. Taken From The Washington Monthly. Online: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html
Joel Kotkin, Urban Legend, Democracy Journal
3. Assign chapters from Jacobs book
Economic Development as Organic Process
1. Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cites. New York: Random House.
Introduction, Parts I and II , Chapters 14, 15, 16 and 22
Please be prepared for a brief presentation where you will be asked to either summarize, argue for, or against the ideas in each chapter. Chapter assignments will be done the week before.
2. Campanella, Thomas. “Reconsidering Jane Jacobs”. http://designobserver.com/feature/jane-jacobs-and-the-death-and-life-of-american-planning/25188/
3. Watch Flag Wars
Tools and Techniques for Economic Development
1. Occupational Analysis and Economic Growth
Blakely and Green-Leigh, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7
Currid, E. (2006). New York as a Global Creative Hub: A Competitive Analysis of Four Theories on World Cities. Economic Development Quarterly. Vol. 20, no. 4:
Online: http://edq.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/4/330 (use USC libraries to access)
H+Advisors, Inc.: “Economic Development in Los Angeles: A New Approach for a World Class City. City of Los Angeles, 2012, Chapters 1, 3 and 5
2. Introducing the Final Project
Discuss Research Project
Discuss sources of data for research project
Organize and confirm research groups (Groups of 5 people)
3.Watch Battle for Brooklyn
Contemporary Economic Development Strategies: The Arts and Economic Development
Currid, Elizabeth (2010) Art and Economic Development: New Directions for the Growth of Cities and Regions, Introduction to the Symposium, Journal of Planning Education and Research Vol 29 (3). (use USC libraries to access)
Christopherson, Susan and Rightor, Ned. (2010). “The Creative Economy as Big Business”. Journal of Planning Education and Research Vol. 29 (3). ((use USC libraries to access)
Judd, D. R. 1995. “Promoting tourism in US cities.” Tourism Management 16 (3): 175–187. (use USC libraries to access).
Los Angeles Redevelopment Field Trip
Economic Development and Consumption
Thomas, Clive (2004) “The rise of the microneighborhood”
2. Glaeser, Chapter 5: Is London a Luxury Resort?
3. Social Compact: Los Angeles Drill Down. July 2008.
Housing and Economic Development
1. Housing Policy
Jackson, Kenneth.(1985) “Federal Subsidy and the Suburban Dream: How Washington Changed the American Housing Market” and “The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ghettoization of Public Housing in the United States”. Taken from: Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford. (On Blackboard)
2. The Current Housing Crisis
Leinberger, Christopher (2008) “The Next Slum?” Atlantic Monthly
Glaeser, Chapter 7: Why Has Sprawl Spread?
3. Broader concerns
Edward Luce, The Crisis of Middle Class America, Financial Times
Dreier, Peter, et al. “Urban Politics and City Limits: What Cities Can and Cannot Do to Address Poverty”. In Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2004.
4. Watch Pruitt-Igoe Myth
Other issues in Economic Development
Putnam, Robert (1995). “Bowling Alone” (On Blackboard)
Medina, Jennifer: “Los Angeles Neighborhood Tries to Change but Avoid the Pitfalls”. New York Times, August 18, 2013.
In class work sessions
In class work sessions
In class work sessions
April 21st and/or April 28th
Final Papers Due Friday April 29th by 4:30 pm, RGL 102