USC Price School of Public Policy

Planning Studios

MPL Planning Studios

Planning studios are an integral part of the curriculum, connecting academic education and preparation for professional practice. Students learn to work together as a team by applying their respective capabilities and knowledge to produce a professional report or plan in response to a common real-world problem.

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


The MPL program has offered recently the following planning studios:

Fall 2009
Economic Development Studio: Redeveloping the Goodyear Tract

Working with the client, Community Redevelopment Agency City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), students created a Strategic Plan for the 208-acre Goodyear Tract in South Los Angeles; the goal being to increase the quality and quantity of jobs. The CRA/LA is a committed partner with the City of Los Angeles in preserving and expanding middle class jobs by retaining important jobs and producing industrial land.

Spring 2010
Trains, Stations and Urban Development: The Case of Berlin, Germany

This International Urban Planning Studio focused on large-scale urban redevelopment of sites adjacent to inner-city rail stations in Berlin, Germany – a European city with a vibrant, high density urban core and dense rail network across its metropolitan region. Despite these progressions in transportation, the areas surrounding redeveloped high-speed rail stations are remarkably underdeveloped. In this planning studio, students assessed the existence of a new Central Station as a new transportation mode and visitor destination.

Fall 2010
Exploring Gandhi’s Neighborhood

The Master of Planning program in a unique partnership with the Centre for Environmental and Planning Technology, a university in Ahmedabad, India, and the University of Buffalo collaborated in a planning studio in Ahmedabad, India. Ahmedabad is a prosperous and progressive city, although it has its share of environmental and slum problems. It is the seventh largest city in India with a population of approximately five million. It is also the famous city in which Mahatma Gandhi launched some of his famous freedom movement initiatives against the British colonial rule. The students spent three weeks focused on the problems of conservation and development of a heritage site of some fifty hectares in this famous city.

Spring 2011
International Trade and Sustainable Economic Development: Long Beach as a Case Study

Seaports are gateways to the world, facilitating global trade and commerce and opening markets to both new and existing businesses. As a result, port cities can face unique challenges that other cities do not. Long Beach, California is an example of how a port city can positively and negatively impact a city’s local, regional, and national economic development. In this studio, students will learn about the unique policy and planning challenges that port cities face, and how economic development, international trade, and sustainability are linked in a global economy.

Spring 2011
Visioning the Future of Nueva Pompeya, Buenos Aires, Argentina

At the invitation of the Department of Urban Development of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the students will study and recommend plans for a historic district located on the southern edge of the city of Buenos Aires called Nueva Pompeya. Nueva Pompeya is a district with a large concentration of villas miserías, or slum population comprising mainly Bolivian immigrants. The city of Buenos Aires would like to consider new ideas for reviving and rejuvenating such languishing districts as New Pompeya. This is an interdisciplinary collaborative studio involving graduate students from the USC Price’s Master of Planning program and USC School of Architecture’s Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs. This interdisciplinary collaborative studio is the first of its kind in USC, and is intended to serve as a model of future studios in comparative and international contexts.