PLSC 416: State and Local Politics

In this course, we will study state and local politics with special attention to issues of the built environment.

Through consideration of urban land use issues, the following general topics will be addressed: the concept of place; racieal and economic segregation (and integration); the place of cities in intergovernmental systems; patterns of interest group dominance in state and local affairs; the challenge of integrating neighborhood, citywide, and regional interests; public-private partnerships; and strategies of coalition-building on behalf of policy and project proposals.

These general topics will be addressed through specific readings and case studies on planning, zoning, design review, infrastructure investment, transportation policy, and growth management.


This course presumes a basic understanding of the structure of American government and of the principles of American federalism. Ann Bowman and Richard Kearney’s State and Local Government: The Essentials, which is on reserve at the ULV library, provides a guide to these issues. Please consult Bowman and Kearney’s text or another general text on state and local politics as needed.


Students will:

1. Demonstrate critical thinking, writing and research skills with respect to state and local politics and urban land use.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of federalism and urbanism.

3. Apply theories of federalism and urbanism to specific cases developments, neighborhoods, municipalities, regions, and/or states.

4: Apply an international perspective to urban design and land use policy.


Most course readings can be accessed through Blackboard.

In addition, the following book must be purchased:

Texts must be brought to class on the day they will be discussed.  Students will be considered absent if they do not bring the reading to class on the discussed. Texts from Blackboard must be printed out and brought in hard copy as electronic devices are not permitted in class.


This course will emphasize critical reading and analysis of the assigned texts. The reading load will be approximately 80 pages per week. Class meetings will be a combination of lectures and discussions. Readings should be completed before the class meeting in which they will be discussed. This enables students to get the most out of the lectures and to participate effectively in discussion.

Discussion: During class discussion you are not expected to have fully developed points of view about the course materials. But you are expected to participate. No one will be penalized for being wrong or imprecise, for expressing uncertainty or frustration, for changing their minds. But it should be clear that you are trying, that you have done the readings and are working toward a mastery of the material.

Questions: None of us, myself included, knows everything about the topics of this class. It is our responsibility to ask others who may know the answer, either in class, in office hours, or over dinner. I expect that you are learning the material, not that you know it. As much as possible, try not to be shy or embarrassed about what you don’t yet know. The biggest failure in learning any material, in college or in life, is to fail to ask questions about things you do not know.

Availability: I expect that all of you, either alone or in groups, will contact me throughout the semester. I am almost always available to discuss the course material, or other life issues. Because I maintain an “open-door” policy, you should not hesitate to stop by my office during office hours–or at other times. If you would prefer to schedule a time during non-office hours, simply contact me by phone or email and we will schedule an appropriate time.

Course Conduct: In order to build and maintain a supportive and productive learning community, students and instructors must treat one another with respect.

For students, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Being prepared to discuss the assigned readings each day;
  • Regular attendance;
  • Notifying the instructor of any scheduling conflicts;
  • On-time arrival to class;
  • Minimizing trips in and out of the room during class;
  • Minimizing side-conversations;
  • Refraining from use of cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Neither laptops nor tablets may be used in class. Cell phones must be turned off AND put away during class meetings. Students who use laptops, tablets, or cell phones will be considered absent.

Failure to adhere to these expectations – especially if students are disrupting others’ learning or creating an unwelcoming environment – will result in disciplinary measures. For more on University policies on appropriate classroom conduct, see the University of La Verne Catalog.

For instructors, responsibility for building and maintaining a supportive and productive learning community includes but is not limited to:

  • Being accessible to students;
  • Communicating clear expectations for student success;
  • Addressing students respectfully, including use of preferred names and pronouns;
  • Returning graded work in a timely fashion;
  • Creating a open exchange of ideas to which all students are encouraged to contribute;
  • Facilitating the interrogation and critical analysis of ideas, including interrogation of the instructor’s views, biases, and values.

Students are encouraged to report violations of University policy, including sexual misconduct and social justice incidents here:


This is a discussion course. It follows that the value of our meetings will hinge on your advance preparation and on your willingness to engage the issues actively in class. When you are doing the readings, keep in mind that you will be expected to participate in the debates outlined in the readings, reject some positions, embrace others, and defend the choices you make.

Grades will be based on the following:

  • Think Pieces:  20%
  • Quizzes: 10%
  • CRA project:  20%
  • Midterm: 15%
  • Final Exam:  25%
  • In-class participation:  10%

Think Pieces: On the Schedule of Meetings (below), you will find study questions for each class session. All students are responsible for writing one double-spaced page on one or more of these questions. These papers must address study questions posed for the following session. The think pieces will be due by 7:00 pm on Wednesday (uploaded to SafeAssign on Blackboard).  This is a very firm deadline. I need to have time to read the papers before we meet on Thursday. No think piece is required for the first week of class, the week of the midterm, or the last week of class.

The think pieces will be assessed on a scale of 1-5. A “3” indicates that the student has accurately grasped the reading. A “4” is indicative of a grasp of the reading with some critical reflection. A “5” indicates critical reflection as well as specific reference to the text. A “2” indicates that the answer misrepresents the text, while a “1” indicates that the question has not been answered. At the end of the semester the grade for quizzes will be calculated as follows:

  • mostly 4s and 5s = A
  • mostly 3s = B
  • mostly below 3s = C, D, or F

Quizzes: Quizzes will be given at the end of class. I will write one question on the board. This question will reflect our discussion and/or the assigned reading for the day. Students will have ten minutes to answer this question. The quizzes will be assessed on the same scale used for the think pieces.

CRA Project: Every California municipality used to have a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). For budgetary reasons, the CRAs were shutdown during the Great Recession. Cities have responded to this problem by finding different ways to address questions of development and redevelopment. For this project, students will choose from among the municipalities in Southern California and investigate its approach to the problem of development and redevelopment. Based on this research, students will write a 10-page paper and give a 15-minute, in-class presentation. Students should interview government officials, developers, and concerned citizens; attend any relevant public meetings; collect photos and/or video; and study governmental and non-governmental documents on urban land use and its history in the municipality. At a minimum, students are required to interview one city official, one member of the business community, and one resident.

In large municipalities, you will want to limit your research to one or two development projects. For this assignment, you should consider:

  1. the historical context of development in the municipality
  2. the goals and objectives of development in the municipality
  3. the constraints on and barriers to development
  4. the process by which development progresses
  5. the long- and short-term consequences of development

An outline of your project will be due on date given in the schedule below. Your outline should be approximately 250 words. It should state your topic and sketch a preliminary account of how you will address the five topics indicated below.

For your in-class presentation you should make use of visual aids such as handouts, overheads, photos, maps, charts, and/or video. Depending on the size of the class and the distance to the site, it might be possible and useful to arrange class field trips as part of these presentations. You should speak for about 15 minutes and then field questions. When you design your slides, please make sure that you put very little text on each slide you use. Slides that include a large amount of text are not effective. If you put a large amount of text on a slide (e.g. a quotation), you need to give the audience time to read the text.

CRA papers must be submitted to SafeAssign. They are due by midnight on the date given on the schedule below. You will need to submit a five-page installment of your paper on the date given below. This could be any section of paper. The purpose is to make sure you have begun to investigate the five questions given above. The final installment is due by midnight on the date given below. All papers must be submitted in Microsoft Word. No PDFs.

Exams: The midterm will pose a series of short-answer questions based on the course materials. The final exam will do the same and will also ask you write an essay in response to a specific political problem. You will be asked to apply the materials we have studied to this political problem.

If you need disability accommodations for an exam or other assignment, please see the instructor as soon as possible. Information regarding disabilities, including learning disabilities, will remain confidential. If you are not sure whether you need special accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Services Department. Information about location and contact numbers can be found here:

Attendance and Participation:  Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements for a productive discussion. Beyond that, each student’s frequency and quality of contribution to the class discussion will be assessed and reflected in the class participation score.

Attendance policies:

  • Students who attend classes in person will receive full credit for attendance. Students who attend classes by Zoom with a valid medical excuse will receive full credit. Students who attend classes by Zoom without a valid medical excuse will receive 3/4 credit for attenance.
  • Students may miss up to three classes without penalty. Students who miss more than three classes will suffer a deduction of one-third of a grade (e.g. a B+ becomes a B). Students who miss more than five classes will suffer a full grade deduction (e.g. a B+ becomes a C+).
  • Students who are in class but do not have the assigned reading will be considered absent.
  • Multiple instances of tardiness may result in a deduction of one-third of a grade.

Late Assignments: Late assignments may be submitted for partial credit, but no assignments will be accepted after the last day of finals week.


FEB 1: Introduction

Howard Kunstler (, Edward Glaeser (

Rebecca Gordon, “The Cost of Housing In America has become Untenable”7

FEB. 3: The Importance of Place

Goldhagen, Welcome to Your World, ch. 7

    • What, according to Goldhagen, is a non-place place? Valeria
    • What are positive freedoms? Why is good design an “essential factor” in positive freedom? Colin
    • Why, according to Goldhagen, are buildings in the Netherlands so well-designed? Kaiya

Eric Klinenberg, Palaces for the People

    • What is infrastructure? Lauren
    • What is social infrastructure? Nick
    • How can physical infrastructure double as social infrastructure? Paula
    • What happens when social infrastructure becomes degraded? Melissa
    • What was the Pruitt-Igoe housing project? Why did it fail? Cody
    • Describe the “broken windows” theory of crime. Valeria
    • What is informal surveillance? Why is it effective at preventing crime? Colin

David Leonhardt, “In Climbing the Income Ladder, Location Matters”

    • What is the relationship between geography and upward mobility? Kaiya

Robert D. Putnam, “What Makes Democracy Work?,” pp. 101-107

    • What is the best predictor of good regional government in Italy? Lauren
    • What is ‘impersonal credit’?  Why, according to Putnam, was it born in Northern Italy? Nick

FEB 8: The Importance of Place (cont’d)

Bill Bishop, The Big Sort, pp. 50-55, 72-77

    • How has the American population been shifting, according to Bishop? Paula
    • What happens to political discourse in communities with large political majorities?  What happens to political participation? Melissa

Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, “The flâneur on and off the streets of Paris,” pp. 22-32

    • What is a flâneur? Where did he originate? Cody
    • Why was the flâneur seen as a deviant? Valeria
    • Why is flânerie a masculine activity? Colin
    • Could one be a flâneur outside of Paris? Outside the arcades? In La Verne? Kaiya
    • Why did flânerie decline? Lauren

Margaret Kohn, “Public Space in the Progressive Era,” pp. 81-98

    • What is the Olmstedtian vision, and is it relevant today? Nick
    • Why did Progressives want to create public space? Paula
    • Why does Kohn prefer Addams’ vision to Olmsted’s? Melissa
    • What does Kohn mean when she says that the Progressive approach was “excessively disciplinary?” Cody
    • What is the contact hypothesis?  What does the empirical evidence say about it? Valeria
    • When is contact most likely to erode prejudice?  When does contact enforce prejudice? Colin

FEB. 10: Film: Roger and Me

    • On What basis does Michael Moore believe GM owes it to Flint to keep jobs there? Kaiya
    • Are there any circumstances under which a company has an obligation to keep jobs in a particular area? Lauren

FEB. 15: Wanted and Unwanted Land Use 

Frank J. Popper, “Lulus and Their Blockage,” pp. 13-27

    • What is a LULU? Think of one or two specific examples. Perhaps you have had some experience with a LULU. Nick
    • Popper indicates that a LULU dispute could become a constitutional issue (p. 15). On what grounds? Paula
    • How can LULU blockage be overcome? Melissa
    • What is the ‘point system’ that Popper discusses? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Cody

Jerusalem Demsas, “Community Input is Bad, Actually”

    • Why, according to Demsas, is community input “disastrous” with respect to local land use issues?
    • Who tends to show up for community meetings?

Bryan D. Jones and Lynn W. Bachelor, The Sustaining Hand, pp. 55-6, 60-62, 67-70, 73-108, 109-122 (skim pp. 90-103)

    • What made 1979-80 such a critical time for the American auto industry?
    • What factors did GM consider in choosing a location for its new plant? Valeria
    • What is the ‘purple horse’ approach (p. 79), and how did GM use it to its advantage?
    • What, according to Jones and Bachelor, were the deciding factors in GM’s decision to build their plant in Detroit? Colin
    • What was the Citizens’ District Council (CDC)?  How were its members selected?  What purpose did it serve?

George Corsetti, “Poletown Revisited”

    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Michigan’s “quick take” law, according to Corsetti? Kaiya
    • What was the net effect of the GM plant on Poletown?

FEB. 17: The Racial Segregation of Place Zoning: Where it Comes From and How it Works

M Nolan Gray, Introduction, Part I, and Appendix

Richard Thompson Ford, “The Color of Territory,” pp. 229-235

    • How do law and borders keep America segregated? Lauren
    • What’s wrong with residential segregation?
    • Why does racial segregation persist? Nick
    • How has the Supreme Court enabled cities to segregate on a racial basis?

Myron Orfield, “Metropolitan Segregation,” pp. 423-28, 441-47

    • What are the benefits of integration? Paula
    • What is the evidence supporting the benefits of integration?
    • What is the achievement gap?  How has it evolved over the last 60 years? Melissa
    • How did the Supreme Court rule in Meredith v. Jefferson County? What was the basis of the Court’s decision?

Ryan Enos, “How Segregation Leads to Racist Voting by Whites”

    • What is social geography? Cody
    • Which white voters were most likely to vote for Donald Trump?
    • How does the proximity of racial groups affect racial views? Valeria
    • How does neighborhood integration affect racial views?

Robert Pape, “What an Analysis of 377 Americans Arrested or Charged in the Capitol Insurrection Tells Us”

    • Which counties were those who stormed the Capitol most likely to come from? Colin

Feb. 22: The Economic Segregation of Place Zoning: Impact on American Land Use

M Nolan Gray, Part II

Richard Kahlenberg, “An Economic Fair Housing Act”

    • What is exclusionary zoning? How can it be racist?
    • What are racially restrictive covenants, sundown towns, and racial steering? Kaiya
    • How did FHA-guaranteed mortgages and Section 8 housing vouchers perpetuate racism?
    • What was the basis of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in Mt LaurelLauren
    • What are the harms of exclusionary zoning?
    • What are the benefits of mixed-income neighborhoods and schools? Nick
    • What would Kahlenberg’s proposed Economic Fair Housing Act mandate? Paula

Will Wilkinson, “An Essay on NIMBY Entitlement”

    • What is Mayor Mirisch’s argument for detached homes? Why does Wilkinson believe it is a straw man argument? Melissa
    • What is the “actual argument”? Cody
    • On what basis does Wilkinson argue that exclusionary zoning is form of structural racism? Valeria

Podcasts “The Problem We All Live With,” This American Life 

Feb. 24: Takings

Supreme Court of the United States, “Kelo v. City of New London

    • What is the Takings Clause?  Under what conditions may the government take private property? Paula
    • When is the government prohibited from taking private property? Colin
    • How did the city of New London justify taking private property in this case? Melissa
    • Does this taking meet the ‘public use’ restriction? Kaiya
    • What is the basis of Justice O’Connor’s dissent? Cody
    • How does this case differ from Berman and Midkiff? Lauren
    • Does this decision render meaningless the distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’ property use?  What limits remain on the Takings Clause? Valeria
    • James Madison wrote:  ‘That alone is a just government which imparitally secures to every man, whatever is his own.’ Do you agree? Nick

Shaila Dewan, “A City Invokes Seizure Laws to Save Homes,” NY Times

March 1: What Do Local Governments Do Best, and What do They Do Worst?

Paul Peterson, City Limits, pp. 22-24, 29-31, 131-35, 150-52, 156-62, 167-73, 178-81

    • What is an ‘export industry’ in Peterson’s language?  Why are they so crucial to the flourishing of a city? Colin
    • What are Peterson’s three ‘policy types’?  Give an example of each. Paula
    • Why do you think local politicians tend to be less ideological than national ones? (City Limits, p. 172) Kaiya

March 3: What Do Local Governments Do Best, and What Do They Do Worst? (cont’d)

Paul Peterson, The Price of Federalism, pp. 16-49

    • What are the ‘functional perspective’ and the ‘legislative perspective’? Melissa
    • Why, according to Peterson, do local governments handle developmental policies best?  Why does the federal government deal best with redistributive policies? Lauren

March 8: The Effects of Government Policy on Economic Segregation and Suburban Sprawl

Dreier, Mollenkopf & Swanstrom, Place Matters, ch. 4

    • In general, what causes sprawl? Cody
    • How is land use policy affected by the fact that it is controlled by local government? Nick
    • What is the ‘free market perspective’? Paula
    • What is public choice theory? Valeria
    • Why do Dreier et al. consider the free market to be a myth? Melissa
    • How did federal policy help make the automobile king? Colin
    • How did military spending encourage sprawl? Cody
    • How did federal home ownership policy encourage sprawl? Kaiya
    • How has the federal government attempted to remedy economic segregation? Lauren
    • What was the New Federalism? How did Ronald Reagan react to it? Nick

Podcast: “House Rules,” This American Life


March 10: Local Political Systems as Regimes

Clarence Stone, Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946-1988, pp. 3-6, 160-74, 186-96, 210-14

    • What is an urban regime? Paula
    • What do urban regimes do best? Melissa
    • Who were the members of the Atlanta urban regime in the 1960s?  What were their policy preferences? Cody
    • Should poor blacks have opposed Andrew Young?  Why didn’t they? Valeria
    • Why does Stone believe that community organizations generally fail?  On what basis do Berry et. al. disagree? Colin
    • According to Stone, why are urban regimes poor at ‘social learning’? Kaiya

Jeffrey Berry, Kent E. Portnoy, and Ken Thomson, The Rebirth of Urban Democracy, pp. 46-53, 135-50, 157-58

    • What factors account for the success of community organizations? Lauren
    • Under what conditions will developers consult with neighborhood? Nick

March 15: Alternatives to Zoning Zoning: Regulation for What, and for Whom?

Robert H. Nelson, Zoning and Property Rights, pp. 7-21, 47-50, 84-87, 95-97, 208-213

    • What does zoning regulate? Paula
    • Does zoning infringe on property rights? Melissa
    • How does zoning balance individual autonomy and community autonomy? Cody
    • What are the purposes of zoning? Valeria
    • Should zoning rights be salable? Colin

Dave McKibben, ‘To Some, Affordable Housing Means Nightmare Neighbors,” LA Times

Peter Y. Hong, “L.A. Is Least Diverse Area in State, Study Finds,” LA Times

Henry Grabar, “The incredible shrinking megacity: How Los Angeles engineered a housing crisis,” Salon

    • How, according to Grabar, has Los Angeles engineered its own housing crisis? Kaiya

Gillian White, “Zoning Laws Exacerbate Inequality,” The Atlantic

    • How does zoning contribute to economic inequality? Lauren

Matt Levin, “5 Reasons California’s Housing Costs are So High”

    • Why are California’s housing costs so high? Nick

Benjamin Schneider, “Liberal America’s Single Family Hypocrisy”

    • Why, according to Schneider, are liberals hypocrites when it comes to single-family homes? Paula

Reddit Post on Building Housing in Los Angeles

    • How do parking requirements add to the cost of housing in Los Angeles? Melissa

Matthew Zeitlin, “Is California’s billion-dollar homelessness strategy working?”

Jerusalem Demsas, “The Obvious Answer to Homelessness”

Michael Lens, “How do we keep L.A.’s housing costs affordable? Build more homes”

Tracy Rosenthal, “Inside LAs Homelessness Crisis”

Eric Levitz, “New ‘Luxury’ Apartments are Good, Actually”

Cara Eckholm, “San Jose, the metropolis of the furture”

M Nolan Gray, Part III

Podcast on the Affordability Crisis, New York Times

March 17: The Evolution of American City Planning

Donald Krueckeberg, ed., Introduction to Planning History in the United States, pp. 3-6; M. Christine Boyer, Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American City Planning, pp. 63-70

    • What is urban planning?  When did it originate in the United States?  What made it necessary? Cody
    • What is/are the purpose(s) of urban planning? Valeria
    • What happens when cities are unplanned? Colin

Mike Davis, “How Eden Lost Its Garden,” pp. 59-91

    • What was Olmstead’s vision for Los Angeles?  Why didn’t it come into being? Kaiya
    • Why did Los Angeles decide to pave the river? Lauren 
    • Why does Los Angeles have less park space than any major city in America? Nick
    • Why were environmentalists and preservationists more successful in the Bay Area than they were in Southern California? Paula

March 22: The Evolution of American City Planning (cont’d)

James Scott, “The Case Against High-Modernist Urbanism: Jane Jacobs”

    • What is High-Modernist Urbanism, and what were Jane Jacobs’ criticisms of it? Melissa
    • Why is “experienced order” more important than “visual order?” Cody
    • What creates “social order,” according to Jacobs? Valeria
    • What are the conditions of the urban diversity Jacobs favors? Colin
    • What distinguishes Jacobs’ planner from Le Corbusier’s? Kaiya

Michael Mehaffy, Cities Alive

    • What is a Jacobs spillover? Lauren
    • Why was Detroit so successful in the auto industry? Nick
    • In order to understand cities, what are the most important habits of thought? Paula
    • Why is urban design more like gardening than carpentry? Melissa
    • Why, according to Jacobs, is statistics not a particularly useful tool in urban design? Cody

March 24: Film: Citizen Jane


APRIL 5: Alternative Planning Visions

James Scott, “Seeing Like a State:  Conclusion”

    • Given that planners cannot predict the future, what rules for development does Scott recommend they follow? Valeria
    • How does planning undermine metisColin

Mike Field, “Two Simple Sentences Could Reshape Suburban America”

    • Which two sentences could reshape suburban America? What would they change? Kaiya

Tristan Cleveland, “The Responsibility of the Building to the Street”


APRIL 12: Can Land Use Become Inclusionary?

William A. Fischel, “How Serrano Caused Proposition 13,” The Journal of Law and Politics, pp. 607-36

    • How did the U.S. Supreme Court rule in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez?  How did the California Supreme Court rule in Serrano v. PriestLauren
    • What did Proposition 13 mandate? Nick
    • How are Serrano and Proposition 13 linked, according to Fischel? Paula
    • What is the Tiebout mechanism?  How did Serrano affect it? Melissa
    • In what sense did Serrano cause Proposition 13? Cody

Jerusalem Demsas, “Tax the Land”

    • What’s a land tax? How does it differ from a property tax?
    • What are the advantages of a land value tax system?

Timothy Noah, “Your House Makes More Money than You Do”

    • Why do our houses often make more money than us?

Joe Garafoli, “California can’t be a haven for others until it builds more housing for everyone”

    • In what sense is California a sanctuary? In what sense is it not?

Yonah Freemark and Lydia Lo, “Effective Zoning Reform Isn’t as Simple as It Seems”

“Reivisonist History: A Good Walk Spoiled”:

April 14: The Private Community Revolution and the Privatization of Public Space

Evan McKenzie, Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government, pp. 9-16, 186-7, 192-97

    • What is a CID?  Why are they politically powerful? Valeria
    • On what basis do CIDs resist taxation? Kaiya
    • What are the disadvantages of exempting CIDs from taxation? Colin

Evan Halper, “Communities Say Keep Out—By Bluffing,” LA Times

Evan McKenzie, “Gated Communities”

APRIL 19: Growth Management: Combatting Sprawl

CRA Presentation:

Henry R. Richmond, “Comment,” pp. 53-64

    • What is Portland’s ‘Urban Growth Boundary’? Lauren
    • What effect has it had on development?  On housing? On transportation? Nick

Alex Krieger, “The Costs—or Have There Been Benefit, Too?—of Sprawl”

    • What, according to Krieger, are the arguments against sprawl?  Are any of these arguments valid?  Why or why not? Melissa

Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck, “Suburban Nation”

    • What’s wrong with cul-de-sacs? Cody
    • What’s wrong with being a “soccer mom?” Paula
    • Who are the victims of sprawl? Valeria

APRIL 21: Growth Management: Combatting Sprawl (cont’d), presentation:

CRA Presentation:

Edward Glaeser, “Why Has Sprawl Spread?,”  in Triumph of the City, pp. 165-197

    • Why are some of the most progressive places in the country inhospitable to middle-income Americans? Kaiya
    • What were the causes of sprawl before the automobile? Colin
    • How did critics and consumers respond to Levittown?  Why? Lauren
    • How did federal policy hurt they city? Nick
    • What accounts for the success of the Woodlands, according to Glaeser? Melissa
    • Why did a million people move to Houston? Cody
    • Why is housing so cheap in the Sunbelt? Paula

Edward Glaeser, “Is There Anything Greener Than Blacktop?,” in Triumph of the City, pp. 199-222

    • Why is the eco-narrative of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax a “fallacy?” Valeria
    • What are the unintended consequences of environmentalism? Kaiya
    • Why is city living greener than country living? Colin


April 26: Transportation Policy

Martin Wachs, “The Evolution of Transportation Policy in Los Angeles”

    • Why was the L.A. rail system phased out in the 1920s and 30s? Lauren
    • How have aesthetic preferences affected transportation policy in L..A.? Nick
    • Why has L.A. decided to rebuild a rail system?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of that system? Are there preferable alternatives? Melissa
    • How do motorists avoid paying their fair share of transportation costs?  How might they be compelled to pay their fair share? Cody

April 28: Transportation Policy

Anthony Downs, Still Stuck in Traffic, pp. vii-ix, 1-13, 37-38, 50-57, 76-90, 101-116

    • What is the market-based approach to congestion relief?  What is the regulatory-based approach? Paula
    • What are Downs’ supply-side strategies for relieving congestion?  What are his demand-side strategies? Valeria
    • What is the principle of triple convergence? Kaiya
    • Does expansion of public transit generally alleviate traffic congestion?  How about expansion of freeways? Colin
    • What are the arguments for and against peak-hour road pricing? Lauren

May 3: Transportation Policy (cont’d)

Anthony Downs, Still Stuck in Traffic, pp. 117-179

    • Why does expanding public transit rarely ease traffic congestion? Nick
    • What, according to Downs are good reasons for expanding mass transit? Melissa
    • Why do Americans prefer to travel in personally-owned vehicles (POVs)? Cody
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of light rail and bus rapid transit? Paula
    • What would encourage greater use of existing public transit? Valeria
    • What are HOT lanes? Kaiya

May 5: Transportation Policy (cont’d)

Anthony Downs, Still Stuck in Traffic, pp. 180-199, 298-320, 336-354

Eric Jaffe, “10 Tired Traffic Myths That Didn’t Get a Rest in 2015”

Yonah Freemark, Why Can’t the United States Build a High-Speed Rail System?, Atlantic Cities

Caitlin Liu, SigAlert on the Roadway to Love, LA Times

May 10: Parking  

CRA Presentation: Valeria

Donald Shoup, “Parking and the City”

Michael Manville, “How Parking Destroys Cities”

Michael Schneider, “L.A. should stop requiring developers to waste space on parking”

Freakonomics podcast episode: Parking is Hell

    • What’s wrong with “free curb parking?” Melissa
    • What is performance-based parking (dynamic pricing)?  How does it improve performance? Cody
    • How might residents and business owners be convinced to accept performance pricing? Paula
    • What are minimum parking requirements?  Why do Shoup and Manville want to remove them? Valeria
    • What is SF Park? How does it work? Kaiya
    • 40% of the vehicles parked at meters are not paying to park. Why? What might be done about this problem? Colin

May 12: Water

CRA Presentation: Colin

“At Last, Logic on Water,” LA Times

D.J. Waldie, “The City and the River,” pp. 51-70

William H. Fain Jr., “Finding a Heart: the L.A. River,” LA Times

Sue Fox, “New Water Law is Unlikely to Halt the Region’s Planned Home Projects,” LA Times

Robert Gottlieb, “Lawns,” pp. 36-40

Freakonomics podcast episode: How Stupid Is Our Obsession with Lawns?

    • What did SB 221 mandate? Lauren
    • What would Assembly Bill 1015 mandate? Nick
    • Are these bills likely to slow development? Melissa
    • What do Waldie and Fain propose to do with the L.A. River? Cody
    • What are the environmental costs of lawns? What can be done about this problem? Paula

MAY 17: CRA Presentations: Paula, Cody, Kaiya

MAY 19: CRA Presentations: Nick, Lauren, Melissa


FINAL EXAM: May 26, 12:45 – 3:25pm


The Department of History and Political Science mandates that all submitted work adhere to the Turabian/Chicago style delineated in Kate Turabian, et. al., A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, University of Chicago Press (available at the Wilson Library Reference Desk). Here you can find a quick and useful guide to the Turabian/Chicago style for citations.

Here are a couple of websites that will automatically format citations in Chicago style for you: and


One seat space between students when possible.

No bathroom breaks except in the case of illness or emergency.  Student should discuss this circumstance with the proctor prior to the start of the exam.

No materials on the desk except for pens/pencils, bluebook or writing paper and exam.

Under no circumstances can students access electronic devices during the exam.

Exam proctors will note any violation of these rules and those will be considered in the final grade.


Your work will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

A—designates work of extraordinarily high quality; reflects unusually thorough and comprehensive understanding of issues at hand; presents a clearly identifiable thesis and argument that demonstrates cogent and creative development and support of ideas.

B—designates work of high quality; reflects clearly organized and comprehensive understanding of issues and hand; presents substantive thesis and argument with evident development and support of ideas.

C—designates work which minimally meets requirements set forward in assignment; reflects some organization and development of ideas, but develops argument in superficial or simplistic manner; may only address part of the assignment or be otherwise incomplete.

D—designates work of poor quality which does not meet minimum requirements set forward in assignment; demonstrates poor organization of ideas and/or inattention to development of ideas, grammar, and spelling; treatment of material is superficial and/or simplistic; may indicate that student has not done reading assignments thoroughly.

F—designates work that does not meet ANY of the standards set above or which is not handed in.


Plagiarism is a prevalent but highly unethical practice. Plagiarism will result in the immediate failure of this course and disciplinary action which could lead to expulsion from the University. If you are having problems in the course please come and talk to me about it rather than doing something that could put your entire college career in jeopardy.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following:

·The direct copying of any source, such as written and verbal material, computer files,
audio disks, video programs or musical scores, whether published or unpublished, in
whole or part, without proper acknowledgment that it is someone else’s.

·Copying of any source in whole or part with only minor changes in wording or syntax, even with acknowledgment.

·Submitting as one’s own work a report, examination paper, computer file, lab report
or other assignment that has been prepared by someone else. This includes research
papers purchased from any other person or agency.

·The paraphrasing of another’s work or ideas without proper acknowledgment.


The Academic Success Center provides free one-on-one peer tutoring to graduate and undergraduate students in a wide variety of courses and subjects. Please make liberal use of the ASC if you need assistance with any of the assignments for this course. To make an appointment, use the quick start guide, stop by ASC on the second floor of the Campus Center, or call (909) 448-4342. Answers to frequently asked questions are available here.

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