USC Price School of Public Policy

Planning Studios


An integral part of the MPL curriculum, Planning Studios connect scholarly insight and preparation for professional practice. Students work together as a team, applying their respective capabilities and knowledge to produce a professional report or plan in response to a real-world problem.

Planning Studios are arranged in the U.S. and around the world. Past courses have examined the tragedy after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, created economic development plans for local Southern California cities, and studied changing public spaces in Germany.

The MPL program has recently offered the following planning studios:

Spring 2016
Understanding Urban Freight: 
Operations in the San Pedro Bay Ports Complex
After acquiring thorough understanding on goods movement and its impact on transportation planning practice, infrastructure development, and traffic operations in urban regions, students examined the current practice of ocean container chassis/rolling stock operations in the U.S. based on the findings and recommendations in the NCFRP Report 201. They developed a sustainable business model for Container Chassis/Rolling Stock Operations in the San Pedro Bay Ports Complex.

Spring 2016
Sustainable Civic Center Redevelopment
The City of L.A.’s approved “Civic Center Master Plan” to guides redevelopment of several significant city-owned parcels in the Civic Center / Little Tokyo area of Downtown LA. Teams of students explored sustainability, health, and mobility, among other policy planning aspects to assist the Council Office in making decisions on the future of LA’s Civic Center and the surrounding areas experiencing gentrification.

Spring 2016
Urban Development in City Heights
Students created land development proposals for the redevelopment of a site in City Heights previously occupied by LA Maestra Clinic, and still largely retained in their ownership. Planning activities included documentation of existing and near‐term anticipated conditions in the vicinity of the site, which is located in a culturally diverse, low-income neighborhood. Understanding the community setting and defining the various program requirements constituted a significant portion of the course.

Spring 2016
Domestic Lab in Affordable Housing
Students researched affordable housing in Los Angeles to assist Public Counsel, a nonprofit legal organization and the Southern CA Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH), a regional membership organization of nonprofit affordable housing developers determine whether or not the assumption that there may be disparate impact could, in fact be true. They mapped their findings to identify sites accepted or rejected by neighborhood demographics such as race and income.