Economic Development Planning: Communities and Regions Concentration

Graduates with a concentration in economic development planning find positions in economic development policy making, analysis, and program evaluation. They may work in city, regional, or state government, policy research organizations, private sector development firms, or public-private partnerships such as business improvement districts. Those interested in community development become specialists with nonprofit community development corporations and project managers for infrastructure and community development finance programs.

Economic development planning students acquire the analytical tools and practical skills to enable them to produce effective economic development policies and plans. They also gain perspective on sources of social inequalities, the politics of municipal finance and urban redevelopment, and the ability to model different economic development approaches. Finally, they learn about how community and regional assets, such as those in social services as well as in the arts and culture, and can build healthy sustainable economies.

In this concentration, students learn how to:

  • Create economic development strategies and plans
  • Analyze local and regional economies with tools including regression, input-output, and economic base analysis
  • Use GIS for spatial policy analysis
  • Undertake economic impact studies and program evaluations
  • Integrate community participation in economic development and community planning processes

Students completing this concentration may wish to select classes from the following list:

  • CRP 5040 Urban EconomicsThis course introduces the concepts and methods used by economists to study not only cities, regions and their relationships with each other, but, more generally, the spatial aspects and outcomes of decision-making by households and firms. Areas examined include determinants of urban growth and decline, land and housing markets, transportation issues, segregation and poverty, and the allocation and distribution of urban public services. 
  • CRP 5074 Economic and Community Development WorkshopEconomic and Community Development workshop courses focus on the economics of neighborhoods, cities, and regions with the intent of producing more informed and effective economic development policy. Topics of study include, among others, the application of analytical tools needed to produce first-rate economic development plans, the special needs of excluded, poor and segregated communities, use of quantitative and qualitative methods to address social inequalities, the politics of planning, relationships between economic development and community development.
  • CRP 5080 Introduction to GIS for PlannersThis course is designed to provide students with a conceptual understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) and sciences, practical hands on experience with GIS software, and understanding of how GIS can be applied to planning practice and research. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts, structures, and functions of GIS as well as their applications and limitations.  By the end of this course students should be familiar with a range of available tools and methods to address planning related problems and issues, and be able to conceive of and manage a GIS project. This involves a) identifying a planning analysis/research problem that requires GIS data and spatial analysis to address/analyze the problem; and b) collecting, processing, and analyzing spatial data to interpret the findings.
  • CRP 5120 Public and Spatial Economics for PlannersCovers basic microeconomic theory in a manner that lets students understand the many applications of economics presented in subsequent courses in city and regional planning. Topics covered include the logic of markets and gains from trade; public goods and commons problems; externalities; and the economic approach to equity. 
  • CRP 5320 Real Estate Development Process IExamination of various forms of development as well as the role of major participants in the processes. Reviews issues in residential, retail, industrial, office, and low-income housing projects. This course is a prerequisite for .
  • CRP 5321 Real Estate Development Process IIExamination of various forms of development, as well as the role of the major participants by a review of case studies of residential, retail, industrial, office, and low-income housing projects.  
  • CRP 5460 Introduction to Community and Environmental Dispute ResolutionExplores the theories and techniques of dispute resolution as they apply to community, environmental, and related public-policy disputes. Analysis complements skill-building. Issues of power, participation, and strategy are central to our examinations of negotiation and mediation practice.
  • CRP 6050 Urban Public FinanceOverview of neoclassical public-economics theory, particularly those aspects of the theory that are central to urban public finance. The unusual three-tiered fiscal system of the United States is described along with the evolving fiscal and economic role of large municipal governments. The course examines the difficulty of arriving at collective spending decisions, as well as standard theories taxation, with a particular emphasis on those taxes used by local governments.
  • CRP 6120 Devolution and Privatization: Challenges for Urban Public ManagementLocal governments across the world must address the twin challenges of devolution and privatization.  Scholarly research debates whether these market approaches promote efficiency, regional equity, local economic growth and citizen voice. Students will review the theoretical bases for these claims and the empirical evidence from around the world.  Students will write theory papers as well as engage in group work on practical policy questions facing cities.  
  • CRP 6270 Regional Economic Impact AnalysisThis course defines the context of a regional economy, taking a systems approach to sustainable development planning. Students will be introduced to the techniques of input-output analysis and will learn how to use social accounting models to evaluate social and environmental impacts. We will use international datasets and will also learn IMPLAN, a software and database designed to quantify the impact of exogenous forces on U.S. regions. Examples of exogenous forces include out-migration of population, natural disasters, financial flows, or the introduction of new activities. The course methods enable practicing professionals to integrate environmental and social dimensions of planning into the framework of economic impact analysis.
  • CRP 6290 Advanced GISThis course is designed to engage graduate level planning students in some more advanced topics using GIS methodology. Topics may vary from year to year, but in the past, the course has included an introduction to spatial statistics. Topics addressed include exploratory spatial data analysis, spatial autocorrelation, point pattern analysis, spatial interpolation techniques, spatial regression (including geographically weighted regression), and both spatial lag and spatial error models. 
  • CRP 6330 Methods of Regional Science and Planning IIIs the world flat and "distance is dead"? Despite recent claims, geographic proximity in social interactions has never been more important. How do we introduce space into our models for planning analysis? Why are things as they are? How do we evaluate plans/policies when spatial interactions matter? The course addresses these questions drawing on recent advances in spatial modeling. The methods to be discussed include the framework of inter-regional input-output (IRIO), structural path analysis (SPA), computable general equilibrium (CGE), and agent-based modeling (ABM). We will begin with the top-down IMPLAN analyses, which are appropriate for static, short-term planning challenges, but less so for regions and cities that change continuously. Regions and cities are adaptive, self-organizing systems of individuals whose interdependent actions create urban forms and produce spatial patterns. To explore how macro-patterns emerge from micro-behavior, we will discuss the bottom-up framework of agent-based modeling. The models to be discussed are analytically intractable: results can only be derived using numerical simulations. The analysis therefore requires computer packages, including IMPLAN, Excel, GAMS, and NetLogo. 
  • CRP 6430 Affordable Housing Policy and ProgramsOverview of federal, state, and local policies and programs to deliver affordable housing to low-income people; public housing, vouchers, inclusionary zoning, rent control, and much more. Lectures, debates, short papers, and term paper.
  • CRP 6580 Residential and Commercial DevelopmentExplores the residential and commercial-development process from site acquisition through delivery of the finished product. Topics include market feasibility, land planning and acquisition, product selection and design, project financing and feasibility, schedule and budgetary controls, contracting and construction, marketing, and sales activities. Composition of the development project team is discussed. Classes are supplemented by visiting professionals. The course includes a semester-long project based on an actual property and market opportunity.
  • CRP 6650 Preservation Planning and Urban ChangeExamination of fundamental planning concepts and issues as they relate to historic preservation. Neighborhood revitalization, federal housing programs, the role of public and private institutions, displacement, and other social issues are among the primary topics.
  • CRP 6740 Urban Transformations in the Global SouthWe live in the age of the city. At some point early in the twenty-first century, the majority of the world's population became urban and the bulk of all growth in the future is expected to occur in the global South - a vast geographical and conceptual space where some of the world's most ancient cities continue to thrive. This graduate seminar seeks to you to a body of work on the cities of the global South, their diversity, growth and change starting in the early twentieth century. Drawing on a large interdisciplinary literature, we will consider the different ways in which scholars and researchers have sought to conceptualize and understand processes of city-building in the global South.
  • CRP 8010 Advanced Seminar in Urban and Regional Theory II (Location Theory)This course surveys traditional and more recent explanations of the location, aggregation, and fragmentation of economic activities in space under different assumptions about the mobility of factors, transportation (or more generally, transaction) costs, economies of scale, and the competitiveness of markets. The relationship between theories of trade and location will be considered, as will the effects on spatial economies of policy interventions.
  • CRP 8300 Seminar in Regional Science Planning and Policy AnalysisCRP 8300 is a weekly seminar at which faculty, students, and visitors present their research on topics of current interest. Presentations usually involve formal or quantitative analyses of developments in regional economies and policy or planning implications.

Students can also take classes outside the department to fulfill some requirements. For the concentration in economic development planning, classes from applied economics and management, industrial and labor relations, the Johnson School's Sustainable Global Enterprise program (which can count as a workshop), the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs, the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, civil and environmental engineering, and the Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team program may be of interest.