This is an archive of the 2021-2022 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2021-2022 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit



URBS 150. Discover the City (3)

This course requires students to make connections between their daily experiences and urban life. Housing, neighborhoods, parks, transportation, environmental conditions, urban infrastructure and other aspects of urban living are examined. Students will investigate a range of urban problems and effective solutions with examples from Southern California and elsewhere. Course assignments will include active exploration of the city. (Available for General Education, D1 Social Sciences.)

URBS 206. Introduction to Graphic Communication Tools Used by Urban Studies and Planning Professionals (3)

This course will focus on graphic communication tools commonly used by planning professionals. The development of maps, charts, drawings and 3D visualizations enhance the ability of professionals to interact with clients and the public. The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to perform spatial analysis and present spatial data will be emphasized. The course will also provide a fundamental knowledge of computer aided design (CAD) for creating maps and drawings and of 3D visualization tools to enhance public understanding of proposals.

URBS 250. Planning the Multiethnic City (3)

Comprehensive analysis of the social, cultural and land use structure of cities in the U.S. since 1900. A major focus of the course will be on the significant demographic changes that have influenced urban and public policy since 1975. This course will explore a myriad of issues related to multiethnic constituencies and conservation of heritage in American cities.

URBS 300. Planning Theory (3)

Prerequisite: URBS 150 or URBS 250 or URBS 310 or instructor consent. Detailed examination of the foundational ideas and issues of the urban planning profession drawn from planning history, alternative models of planning and planning ethics. Rational, incremental, advocacy and participatory theories are examined with a focus on techniques for increasing citizen participation. Planning principles will be examined in the context of case studies drawn from the Los Angeles region, the U.S. and world cities.

URBS 310. Growth and Sustainable Development of Cities (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Examination of the forces contributing to the form, structure and sustainable development of cities. Emphasis on urban areas of the U.S. Conservation of resources and heritage in city development will be considered. (Available for General Education, D1 Social Sciences.)

URBS 340A. Quantitative Urban Research Methods (3)

This course is an introduction to research methods typically used in urban studies and planning. It provides basic skills for research design and statistical techniques appropriate for quantitative analysis. The focus of the course is on the approaches to research design, data collection, analysis of survey data and the application of statistical techniques. Students will learn how and when to use descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. This is an intensive writing course: Students are required to read scholarly research papers and conduct a library literature and database search. Students will learn to use statistical analysis software to build a database to analyze their own data.

URBS 340B. Qualitative Urban Research Methods (3)

Prerequisite: URBS 340A or instructor consent. This is an introduction to research designs and methodologies incorporating qualitative methods of data collection, such as archival research, interviews, behavior mapping, cognitive mapping, participant observation and survey instruments. The ethical treatment of research subjects also is addressed. This is an intensive writing course: Students are required to read scholarly research papers and conduct a library literature and database search. The course emphasizes student-generated research design, fieldwork, data analysis and final project.

URBS 345. The General Plan and Zoning (3)

This course deals with the requirements for comprehensive planning and zoning in the State of California. Emphasis will be placed on the mandated general plan elements of land use, housing, circulation, Open space, conservation, safety and noise. Special attention will be paid to formulating a framework for a general plan, and preparation, adoption and amendment of the general plan. As the major tool for the implementation of the general plan, zoning will be addressed in terms of the enactment process and administration through the use of the variance, conditional use permits and zone changes. Students will be required to participate in a series of field-based and studio-based exercises focusing on general plan formulation and current zoning problems.

URBS 350. Cities of the Developing World (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Urbanization process of cities with an emphasis on the historical background and the social, economic, cultural and political factors responsible for shaping cities in the developing world. Spatial dimensions of the urbanization process and common urban problems are explored using case studies of cities in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia. (Available for General Education, F Comparative Cultural Studies.)

URBS 380. Los Angeles: Past, Present, Future (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Multidisciplinary investigation of the Los Angeles urban area, its patterns of population and resources distribution; its historical, economic, social and cultural developments; and policies models designed to cope with its problems and to develop its potential as an ethnically diverse metropolis on the Pacific Rim. Application of social science methodology. Series of faculty and guest speakers, weekly discussion sessions and field trips. (Cross-listed with HIST 380 and POLS 380.) (Available for General Education, D1 Social Sciences.)

URBS 400. Planning for the Natural and Built Environment (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Relationships between people and technology in the city, and the application of resources to supply such urban needs as transportation, waste disposal, water and communication. Technological change and forecasting. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 415. The California Environmental Quality Act for Urban Planners (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. This course deals with California’s statutory requirements for environmental planning and policy. The focus of the course will be on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process that addresses issuance of Negative Declarations, preparation of draft and final environmental impact reports (EIRs), litigation, decision making and the requirements of professional consulting. A special emphasis will be placed on understanding the environmental implications of typical projects that occur in an urban setting. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 416. Urban Housing (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. This course is designed to help students explore the complexity of housing and housing-related issues from a planning perspective. Students will develop a basic understanding of the housing market, its relationship to community development and its importance to communities and the U.S. economy. A wide variety of topics will be discussed, including the use and meaning of housing, the development of federal, state and local housing policy, the changing dynamics of housing policy, the housing market, housing finance, the challenge of providing affordable housing and the relationship of housing to community development/neighborhood transformation. Considerable emphasis will be placed on housing issues in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Class time will be devoted to lectures, guest lectures, class discussions and group discussions. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 425. Social Policy, Environmental Justice and the City (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Addresses the linkages between urban social policy, distributional equity in local and federal programs, and environmental movements initiated as a response to regressive land use and/or planning strategies. Specific areas of social policy that are analyzed in this course are housing policies and programs, economic development and revitalization, transportation, urban recreation and cultural projects, and local governmental implementation strategies. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 430. Planning in the Public Sector (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Analysis of public and private institutions through which modern urban society functions, with emphasis on the structure and functions of cities from the perspective of their organizational life. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 435. Planning for Community Development (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Examination of the theories of local economic development and how each theory informs real-world policy and practice. Implementation and implications of alternative strategies are illustrated by specific case studies. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 440. Community-Based Urban Design (3)

Prerequisites: URBS 206URBS 340A and URBS 340B; or instructor consent. The study of current urban design techniques and policies and their application to local communities and neighborhoods. Digital tools and computer aided design will be utilized for site planning. Local communities will be involved in the urban design process utilizing various community participation techniques, as the class collaborates to develop the final site plan. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 450. Senior Seminar in Urban Studies and Planning (4)

Prerequisites: URBS 206, URBS 340A or other equivalent research methods course, URBS 340B and senior standing; or instructor consent. Advanced seminar on contemporary topics in urban studies and planning.  Students are required to produce a culminating research project. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 452. Urban Land-Use Planning (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Principles and techniques of land-use planning in urban areas. Regular written assignments are required. Available for graduate credit. (Cross-listed with GEOG 452.)

URBS 460. Legal Foundations of Planning (3)

Prerequisites: Upper division standing and URBS 300; or instructor consent. This course is a general introduction to land use planning law in the United States. It looks primarily at the state, regional and municipal levels, with an emphasis on practices and procedures to manage land use and growth in California. The course covers four broad areas: Introduction to Law and the U.S. Legal System; State and Local Planning Law; Managing Urban Land Use: Conflicts and Quality of Life; and Managing Growth. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 480. Urban Transportation Planning (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. This course is a general introduction to the interrelated systems of urban transportation and urban land use and their effects on the growth, development and future of human settlements. The course will provide entry-level competence for students seeking employment in transportation planning in the public or private sectors. Four broad areas are covered: transportation planning history; transportation and land use theory; transportation planning process and techniques; and urban transportation policy. Available for graduate credit. (Cross-listed with GEOG 483.)

URBS 490C. Fieldwork (3)

Prerequisites: Senior standing and URBS 340A, URBS 340B, URBS 206 or other equivalent research methods courses; or instructor consent. Urban field research using quantitative and/or qualitative analytical techniques through supervised projects. The ethics of professional planning and research will be practiced. Final projects may be presented to community stakeholders at instructor’s discretion. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 494A-C. Internship (1-3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Upon prior approval by the internship coordinator, students may earn up to 6 units for professional experience in a planning department, social service agency or other public or private organization dealing with urban problems. The course will focus on professional preparation and ethics of professional practice in urban studies and in urban planning. Available for graduate credit. (Credit/No Credit only)

URBS 495A-Z. Selected Topics in Urban Planning (3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or instructor consent. Deals with a wide range of topics and specializations that are customarily dealt with by professional urban planners. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 496A-Z. Experimental Topics Courses in Urban Studies and Planning (1-3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing. Selected topics in urban studies and planning, with course content to be determined. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 499A-C. Independent Study (1-3)

Independent study. Available for graduate credit.

URBS 610. Contemporary Urban Planning in the United States and California (3)

Provides an overview of urban planning as practiced in the U.S. The course assumes some familiarity with urban planning and builds on common issues and problems in the field utilizing a topical approach. Such critical issues as transportation, housing, social and environmental justice, citizen participation, urban design, urban sprawl, sustainable development and New Urbanism will be examined in detail.

URBS 615. Analytical Principles and Practices in Urban Planning (3)

Planners manage resources, such as people, time, money, land, and infrastructure and success depends on the careful identification of scarce resources, constraints and conflicts. Within this context, students learn how to apply important principles to solve urban problems. Rather than examine theory in the abstract, students apply analysis to an array of important issues that planners must deal with: public goods, collective action, housing investment, crime, local taxes, traffic congestion, air pollution, and land use.

URBS 620. Seminar in Comprehensive Planning (3)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the general plan and zoning process in the U.S. and California. Special emphasis will be placed on the plan elements dealing with land use, housing, circulation, open space, conservation, safety and noise. Zoning will be addressed in terms of the structure and content of zoning ordinances and the administration process. Other topics include administrative aspects of planning, and negotiation skills for planners in implementing the comprehensive plan. Supporting field trips and discussions with planners and project managers are planned.

URBS 630. Sustainable Development and Environmental Impact Analysis (3)

This course deals with approaches to planning for sustainable development and the requirements for environmental planning and policy associated with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This act and regulatory guidelines can serve as a model for impact analysis in any global setting. A special emphasis will be placed on understanding the implications of sustainable development for typical projects that occur in urban settings and the techniques used to assess impacts. Supporting field trips and discussions with planners and project managers are planned.

URBS 640. Seminar in Planning for Communities and Local Economic Development (3)

This course focuses on the study of human behavior as it is affected by basic human needs and urban conditions. Special attention will be given to: (1) the manner in which local neighborhoods and communities are integrated into the planning process and how needs are articulated; and (2) the manner in which local economic development can be affected by the planning process and by the integration of community participation. Supporting field trips and discussions with planners and project managers are planned.

URBS 650. Policy Analysis and Implementation (3)

Public policy analysis and implementation is an important element within the larger process of public policy making. It is a growing field in academic research and a growing professional field in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The course provides an introduction to the fundamental theories, concepts, terms, and methodologies associated with public policy analysis and program implementation. Students will systematically walk through the basic steps of the policy analysis process, from the identification and definition of a problem, to the analysis of alternative policies for addressing the problem, the selection of evaluation criteria, and the selection of a particular policy option. Considerable emphasis will be placed on the development of a plan for implementation.

URBS 660. Planning Law (3)

This course will provide a background of the American legal system for non-law students and then focus on land use controls in the United States. Understanding the legal foundations for planning provides the professional planner with the ability to recommend, write and create effective policies and successfully implement those policies. Understanding issues of zoning, eminent domain, and takings effect what is permissible in plans. Planners also need to consider First Amendment and exclusionary zoning issues. To promote sustainability the legal frameworks regarding development controls, growth management, aesthetics and preservation are important to understand. Through reviewing case law, the planner will be better prepared to promote and defend their clients.

URBS 670. Visual Communication Skills for Urban Planners (3)

The course will focus on graphic communication skills for urban planners. It will provide an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) as a spatial data analysis tool for planners. It will also be an introduction to Creative Suite applications to utilize them for graphic communication and map making.

URBS 680. Quantitative Analysis in Urban Planning (3)

This course exposes students to a range of quantitative analysis techniques typically applied to the study of urban phenomena. As a critical part of coursework students explore relevant data sources and appropriate data analysis methods. Students perform various diagnostic tests on quantitative data as they build their own datasets using statistical software. Both bivariate and advanced multivariate quantitative techniques such as, ANOVAs, correlation analysis, regression and logistical regression analysis are covered along with essential lessons on the interpretation of results.

URBS 685. Qualitative Research in Urban Planning (3)

The course focuses on qualitative research methods to address urban planning and social science related problems. Qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups, observations, cognitive mapping, participant observation, and questionnaires will be utilized with corresponding research designs and methodologies such as ethnography and critical inquiry. Content analysis with coding process in grounded theory will be utilized. Ethical treatment of human research subjects will be discussed.

URBS 690. Field Project in Urban Planning (3)

In preparation for the capstone course, students work with the instructor and a community partner to address a local planning problem, to determine the appropriate scope of work, and to conduct research and analysis.

URBS 698. Professional Project (3)

The emphasis is on the blending of practical skills with knowledge gained from core-area courses. The course focuses on application of planning theory and use of research and analysis skills for implementation in community and regional professional projects.