Course Description

This introductory course is structured to cultivate the key sensibilities necessary for effective planning practice in newly industrialized countries. By the word "sensibility" we mean an awareness of key development issues, interdependent causalities, and anticipated as well as unanticipated consequences of social action, which mark most planning efforts. The word sensibility is used also to signify that there is no generic clear-cut and "right answer" to any development problem. In fact, one characteristic of an effective planner is that he/she does not rely upon standard theories of action; instead he/she utilizes his/her cultivated sensibilities to craft a specific planning strategy at a specific moment in a specific place and implement it in a particular way to fit the task at hand. In cultivating such sensibilities, we will use examples from varying institutional settings, ranging from local to international levels, and probe how the particularities of each setting calls for an awareness of particular institutional opportunities as well as constraints which planners need to take into account in devising planning strategies. Understanding and appreciating such particularities of each setting is the single most important skill a planner requires for effective practice. We will combine theory with practice and empirical evidence from different areas. Guest speakers from the SPURS fellows program will discuss about their hands on experience as planners in different organizational settings. In addition, we will analyze in detail two cases of planning in action, one from Lusaka (Zambia) about the provision of low-cost housing, and the second one from La Paz (Bolivia) about a case of corruption in the public sector.


Classroom deliberations based on the assigned readings is central to this course; because only through such deliberations can we hope to cultivate the sensibilities necessary for effective planning practice. There will be two written assignments and one group presentation based on the case studies from planning practice selected for this class. The due dates are Lec #10 for the first essay, and Lec #25 for the final assignment. Student presentations will be held in Lec #22.


Grades will be determined based on the following weights:

Class Participation 20%
First Assignment 20%
Final Assignment 40%
Student Presentations for the Two Case Studies 20%