An integral part of the MUP 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 MUP program has recently offered the following planning studios:
Urban Lab: Sustainable Economic Development
Los Angeles—Little Tokyo
This studio applies class and core studies to a “real world” economic development and planning situation. Traditional economic development strategies focus specifically (and, often, exclusively) on business and job attraction/retention. Sustainable economic development considers not only the quality and long-term viability of businesses and jobs but the broader context of equitable, comprehensive mixed use urban development that serves broader constituencies. This portion of Los Angeles presents a timely case study for sustainable economic development strategies, affected by evolving land use and development policies for, and projects taking place in, Little Tokyo and surrounding communities, particularly as the City attempts to reposition the area through updates to the local Community Plans and as substantial new public and private investment begins to change the local landscape.
Urban Design for Innovation
If you are paying any attention to what is happening in the news, you no doubt will recognize that America’s culture and economy are going through significant change. Whatever your interest, there is much discovery taking place in the convergence of megatrends of technological innovation, climate change, and social justice. Entire parts of our economy are being reshaped, companies are changing their business models, and the nature of how we work and live is in transition. Social systems are being shaken to their foundations. Issues impact every facet of American life from corporations to cities to individuals.
West Santa Ana Branch Transit (WSAB) Corridor:
Developing Multimodal Transportation Plans for through the City of Huntington Park, California
Eco-Rapid Transit (formerly known as the Orangeline Development Authority), is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) created to pursue development of a transit system. Eco-Rapid Transit consists of 13 members: the cities of Artesia, Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Downey, Glendale, Huntington Park, Marywood, Paramount, South Gate, and Vernon, and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. Students applied their academic training, working knowledge, and conduct themselves in an environment that mimics the professional workplace. The course was structured in three distinct and inter-related modules with an end goal of producing a set of phased implementation plans at each light rail station.
Sustainable Communities Planning Grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to the City of Long Beach
As part of a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to the City of Long Beach, the City’s Planning Bureau is developing a Neighborhood Mobility Enhancement Plan (NMEP) for North Long Beach to help implement the City’ recent General Plan Update and ongoing development of a Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. The NMEP addressed physical and social barriers to mobility including hardscape and infrastructure, safety, and perceptions of safety through a multifaceted, community-centered equitable planning process. Students worked in groups to design the Community Engagement and Partnership Plan (CEPP) that will serve as the community framework for developing and implementing the Neighborhood Mobility Enhancement Plan.
Sustainable Urban Development in City Heights
San Diego, CA
The intended client is the City Heights Community Development Corporation. One aspect of revitalization they have asked for studio assistance on is a proposal to create or designate a walkable culturally oriented district to serve as a way to better organize and serve the community and to foster expanded economic value locally and for the surrounding neighborhoods based on the principles described above. Materials collected and analyzed by the class are expected to be useful as well as part of a specific plan process for Little Saigon and related areas. Students will be asked to identify possible funding resources available in this post-redevelopment environment, and apply this knowledge in the formulation of their proposals.
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.
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.
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.
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.