ESP 171 Urban and Regional Planning

Spring 2016


 TTh 12:10 – 1:30        Wellman 126


W 11:00 – 11:50          Wellman 233          Dillon Fitch

W 12:10 1:00            Wickson 2124         Dillon Fitch

W 1:10 – 2:00             Wickson 2124          Jamey Volker

W 2:10 – 3:00             Wickson 2124          Calvin Thigpen

W 3:10 4:00              Wellman 205          Calvin Thigpen

W 4:10 5:00              Wellman 103          Jamey Volker


 Susan Handy

 Office:                        2130 Wickson Hall

 Office hours:              MW 3:00 – 4:30 or by appointment




Calvin Thigpen            Sections 4 and 5

Office:                         2140 Wickson

Office hours:               Friday 11-1



Dillon Fitch                  Sections 1 and 2

Office:                         2140 Wickson

Office hours:               Thursday 2-4



Jamey Volker              Sections 3 and 6

Office:                         2143 Wickson

Office hours:               Tuesday 2-4




Go to...
Course objectives
Syllabus and assignments
Schedule of topics and readings

Other resources – including sources for paper ideas


Planning in the News


“A startling map of how sea-level rise will affect NYC” – CityLab, 6/1/16

“The rise of resilience planning” CityLab, 5/31/16

“America’s Heinous Commutes, Mapped in Pretty GIFs” WIRED, 5/23/16

“Bringing By-Right Affordable Housing to California” Planetizen, 5/23/16

“40 percent of the buildings in Manhattan could not be built today” NY Times, 5/20/16

“How LA can improve its return on our multibillion-dollar transit investment” LA Times, 5/16/16

“Squatters see a new frontier in the empty homes of Las Vegas,” NYT, 5/14/16

“For Foreign Investors in a Soccer Stadium, U.S. Visas Are the Goal” 5/16/16

“Measure AA Asks Bay Area Residents to Help Protect Against Sea Level Rise” KQED, 5/9/16

“Choosing the Unwalkable Suburbs, or Settling for Them?” CityLab 5/10/16

“Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees,’” New York Times, 5/3/16

“A Warmer, Fuzzier Los Angeles,” New York Times, 4/30/16

“After Dividing For Decades, Highways Are On The Road To Inclusion,” NPR, 4/28/16

“A Community-Minded Approach to Resilience in Berkeley” – CityLab, 5/2/16

“Long shadows create political hurdle for SF skyscraper project” – SF Chronicle, 4/28/16

“In Cramped and Costly Bay Area, Cries to Build, Baby, Build” – New York Times, 4/16/16

“Berkeley one of first cities in the world to develop resilience strategy” – Berkeley Patch, 4/4/16

“Beijing and the Earliest Planning Document in History” – The Guardian, 3/25/16 – see the whole “The Story of Cities” series

“New York City Council Overwhelmingly Approves Plan to Rezone the City” – Politico New York, 3/22/16

“Mapping 260 Years of Global Carbon Emissions” – CityLab 12/22/15

“A Park to Sop Up Pollutants Before They Flow Into the Gowanus Canal” – NY Times, 12/16/15

“A Mansion, a Shell Company and Resentment in Bel Air” – NY Times, 12/14/15

“It’s time for cities to ditch ballot-box planning” – Citylab,, 11/4/15

“Big S.F. zoning changes could unlock housing opportunities in development-averse neighborhoods” – SF Business Times, 8/11/15

“Threat to Tiny Golden-Cheeked Warbler is Disputed in Texas” – New York Times, 7/31/15


Course Objectives

“How to meet the needs of more people in California, while at the same time respecting fundamental limits on our tax dollars and natural resources is one of the inexorable challenges we face.”

                                                            - Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor, 1978


Although population growth in California has slowed in recent years, the state has been adding 311,000 new residents per year according to the Department of Finance.   Projections suggest that California will add 5 million residents in the next 15 years, reaching as many 44 million by 203, and 52.6 million by 2060.  The fastest growth has been and is expected to continue in the Central Valley, the Sierra foothills, and the Inland Empire of Southern California.  If development continues according to recent patterns, 40,000 acres of agricultural land will be lost to urban development each year, according to the American Farmland Trust. 


This growth will exacerbate current problems associated with our existing population:  vehicle travel is growing faster than population, over 90% of Californians currently breathe unhealthy air, water supplies are unreliable and diminishing, increased impervious cover is degrading water quality, native vegetation important for biodiversity has been lost, habitat quality has been degraded, and the number of endangered animal and plant species in the state has increased.  How population growth in California is accommodated will determine how much worse such problems will get:  the future of our cities and the future of our environment are inextricably linked. 


This course explores the ways in which cities plan for growth and asks how cities can shape their future in a way that minimizes the harm to the environment while also meeting the needs of their residents.  The course will introduce students to standard city planning tools (the general plan, zoning ordinances), as well as innovative tools that cities are using to manage their growth in an environmentally sensitive way.  The course focuses on local planning practices in California but considers examples from elsewhere in the U.S. and the relationships between local, state, and federal policy. The objective of the course is for students to acquire a basic understanding of local and regional planning with respect to law, policy, and practice.


Syllabus and Assignments


Writing Memos

Writing Tips for Planners


Exercise 1 – due 4/5

            ESP171 Exercise 1 Bike Tour Map – in Google My Maps

How to create a My Map in Google Maps

Davis Bike Map

Exercise 2 – due 4/12

Of interest:  “Reading Through a Plan” by Brent Ryan

Exercise 3 – due 4/19

Exercise 4 – due 4/26

CEQAnet – searchable database of CEQA documents but without links to the actual documents

CEQAmap – searchable database of CEQA documents with links to the actual documents

The Cannery DEIR

City of Vacaville General Plan DEIR

Clover Valley EIR

SF Bike Plan EIR (scroll down)

UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium EIR – link no longer works

Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower (near top of list)

            Nishi Property EIR – Davis project

            Farmer’s Field Draft EIR – proposed downtown LA stadium

            Fun with CEQA from Curbed LA – has links to controversial CEQA examples in LA


Demographic Report Assignment – due 5/10


“White Paper” Assignment – see websites for paper ideas

            Topic due Tuesday, 5/17 by noon via SmartSite

            Draft due Tuesday, 5/24 in class – bring 2 copies to class for peer-review in section on 5/25

            Final paper due Wednesday, 6/1 at 11:59 pm via SmartSite

            Example of an A paper – but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect!



Guide to Citations - be sure you're following these guidelines!

Examples of planning-related White Papers (ignore fancy formatting):

            Individual articles in the Energy Aware Planning Guide (warning: this is a big file!)

            Research briefs and syntheses from the Active Living Research program



Schedule of Topics and Readings, plus Other Resources

The textbook for the course is William Fulton and Paul Shigley’s "Guide to California Planning," fourth edition, published by Solano Press Books in 2012.  The chapters listed in the schedule refer to chapters in this book.  Other readings are available below.  Additional resources and references are also provided below.  SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.






Assigned Readings

Reference material

Items of interest




Class 1 Powerpoint

§ Chapters 1 and 2

§ Browse Planetizen’s Top Planning Trends of 2015

§ For reference: “Just the Facts” on California’s Population

§ For reference:  Homepage for the California Strategic Growth Council



Section:  Introductions





The basis for planning

Class 2 Powerpoint

Class 2 Study sheet

§ Chapter 3

§ ”Toward Ecological Cities” - Environment

§ “Green Manhattan” – The New Yorker

§ “Healthy Planning” – Planning Mag

§ Extra:  “Jane Jacobs: The Planners’ Best Frenemy” – Planning Mag

§ As seen in class: The Pruit-Igoe segment of Koyaanisqatsi with commentary on YouTube; Koyannisqatsi on vimeo; see Wikipedia entry for more information.

§ As seen in class:  Charley in New Town on You Tube

§ Of interest:  “What Burning Man taught me about cities”

§ Of interest:  Village Homes

§ For fun:  The Levittown Historical Society

§ Of interest:  Haussman Rips up Paris

§ Of interest:  Houten easytown on You Tube – Dutch bicycling city

§ Of interest:  Urban renewal in Hong Kong:  City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City 20 Years Later



Who does what

Class 3 Powerpoint

Class 3 Study sheet

Exercise 1 due

§ Chapters 4 and 5

§ “Getting Ahead of the Opposition” – Planning Mag

§ “California’s Aerial Combat” – Planning Mag

§ Extra:   City of Davis annexations over time  

§ Of interest:  Is the planning profession trivial?

§ For reference:  “The Basics of SB375” - ILG

§ For reference:  Global Cool Cities

§ For fun:  California Carbon Footprint Calculator



Section:  “The City” vs. “Green Manhattan”


Before section watch The City (Part 1 here, part 2 here), available through the Prelinger Archives



Vision – the General Plan
Class 4 Powerpoint

Class 4 Study sheet

§ Chapter 6

§ “American Demographics c. 2109” – Planning Mag

§ “Diversity and Aging in America” – Planning Mag

§ “Climate Action Plans” – Planning Mag

§ Extra:  City of Brea General Plan

§ Extra:  City of Sacramento 2030 General Plan, plus EIR

§ For reference:  General Plan Guidelines – Chapters 1, 3, 4

§ For reference:  California Planning, Zoning, and Development Law 2011



Planning in Practice – Lucas Griffiths, UC Davis Campus Planning


Exercise 2 due

Catch-up or read ahead!

Campus Tomorrow

2003 UC Davis Long Range Development Plan



Section:  Discussion TBD





Implementation 1 - Zoning

Class 5a Powerpoint

Class 5a Study sheet

§ Chapters 7 and 8

§ “Form-Based Codes: Implementing Smart Growth” - LGC

§ “Saving the World through Zoning” – Planning Mag

§ “Urban Farming Law” – Planning Mag

§ “Greening the Big Apple” – Planning Mag

§ For reference:  General Plan Guidelines  Chapter 9

§ For reference:  See Wikipedia entry on Homeowners Associations

§ Of interest:  LA’s “Re:code LA” project

§ Of interest:  New DC zoning code

§ Of interest:  Donald Shoup on “The trouble with minimum parking requirements” and “Cruising for Parking”

§ For fun:  Far out hippie-style homes

§ For fun: 10 Things a Homeowners Association Won’t Tell You

§ For fun:  City of Ottawa cartoon on parking standards



Implementation 2

Class 5b Powerpoint

Class 5b Study sheet

Exercise 3 due

§ Chapter 12

§ “Silicon Valley South” – Planning Mag

§ “Savannah Take the LEED” – Planning Mag

§ “Birdbrained Scheme” – Planning Mag

§ For reference:  The Planner's Guide to Specific Plans

§ For example:  Cannery Subdivision Maps plus Subdivision Approval Conditions

§ Extra:  Regulating Code for Central Hercules Plan

§ Extra:  West Sacramento Triangle Specific Plan

§ Extra:  Petaluma Downtown Specific Plan and Smart Code

§ Extra:  Colonias FAQs

§ Extra:  From Colonias to Model Subdivisions



Section:  Discussion TBD






Class 6 Powerpoint

Class 6 Study sheet

§ Chapter 9

§ “California’s Legal Yoke: CEQA” – on LA stadiums - Planning Mag

“Fighting CEQA with CEQA” – on Bakersfield Walmart – Planning Mag

§ For reference:  General Plan Guidelines, Chapter 7

§ For reference:  CEQA Guidelines

§ Extra:  CEQA on Planetizen

§ Extra:  A Field Guide to CEQA and Its Controversies and Fun with CEQA – Curbed LA

§ Extra:  Summary of Henry Cornell Winery CEQA case

§ Extra:  Bakersfield Wal-Mart Battle news story

§ Extra:  Clover Valley Foundation in Rocklin – issues over developer-led EIR



Planning in Practice – Fred Buderi, City of Vacaville


Exercise 4 due

Catch-up or read ahead!

§ City of Vacaville Community Development Department

§ See General Plan Update page

§ See Public Review Comments



Midterm review

Questions for midterm review





Development Types

Class 7 Powerpoint

Class 7 Study sheet

Note:  this material will not be on the midterm but it will be on the final!

§ Chapter 17

§ “God and the Mall” – Planning Mag

§ “TOD for Tots” – Planning Mag

§ “A Redevelopment Revolution” – Planning Mag

§ “From Pop-up to Permanent” – Planning Mag

§ For reference:  EPA’s Brownfield website

§ For reference:  Calif. Department of Toxic Substances – Brownfield Success Stories

§ Of interest:  SF’s YIMBY group BARF

§ Of interest:  99% Invisible Podcast “Supertall 101

§ Of interest:  99% Invisible Podcast “The Soho Effect”

§ Extra:  Club Nimby

§ Extra:  Tejon Ranch Website

§ Extra:  Transbay Transit Center website

§ Extra:  Santana Row website

§ Extra:  Privately Owned Public Space

§ Extra:  “Questioning Assumptions” on New Urbanism – by me!



MIDTERM – Bring Scantron card! (this one:  UCD SCANTRON FORM 2000 – blue)



Section – Intro to the U.S. Census




Growth management

Class 8 Powerpoint

Class 8 Study sheet

§ Chapters 11 and 13

§ “Exploring the No Growth Option” – Planning Mag

§ “Right-sizing Urban Growth Boundaries” – Planning Map

§ “Oregon’s 40-year-old Innovation” – Planning Mag

§ Another example: “Maryland’s 2nd Generation Smart Growth”

§ Another example:  “Florida Meltdown”

§ Extra:  DavisWiki on Measure J

§ Extra:  DavisWiki on Covell Village

§ Extra:  DavisWiki on Target

§ Extra:  Portland Metro UGB website



Encouraging development within boundaries 

Class 9 Powerpoint

Class 9 Study sheet

Demographic Report due

§ Chapters 14 and 15

§ “Round 3 for Eminent Domain” – Planning Mag

§ “Leading the Parade” – Planning Mag

§ “California Scrambles” – Planning Mag

§  Extra:  Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities

§  Extra:  California’s Secret Government – City Journal, Spring 2011

§  Example:  Old Pasadena

§  Example:  Sunnyvale Downtown Development

§  Example:  Lancaster BLVD

§  Seattle example:  “From Blight to Alright” – Planning Mag

§  International example:  “Vive Rive Gauche” – Planning Mag

§  For reference:  Institute for Local Self-Reliance

§  Of interest:  History of the Federal Use of Eminent Domain

§  Of interest:  “Holdout” podcast from 99% Invisible on Seattle woman who wouldn’t sell her house



Section – Discussion TBD





Matching growth to infrastructure

Class 10 Powerpoint

Class 10 Study sheet

§ Chapters 19 and 10

§ “Complete Streets” – ITE Journal

§ “Rethinking Arterials” – Planning Mag

§ “What will you pay for this parking space?” – Planning Mag

§ “Giving residents a say in city spending” – Planning Mag

§  Example:  Nishi Gateway DEIR – Transportation and Circulation chapter

§  For reference:  Fact Sheets on California tax and finance topics

§  For reference:  Overview of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts

§  For reference:  Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund programs

§  Of interest:  “Livable Streets in Carlsbad, California” on YouTube

§  For fun:  NPR interview with Donald Shoup on Parking



Using infrastructure to manage growth

Class 11 Powerpoint

Class 11 Study sheet

Paper topic due

§ Chapters 18 and 20

§ “Blueprint for a Valley” – Planning Mag

§ “Breaking with the Past” – Planning Mag

§ “The Next Big Thing” – Planning Mag

§ “Signs of a New Regionalism” – Planning Mag

§  For reference:  “The Basics of SB375”

§  For reference:  SACOG website

§  For reference:  ”Smart Growth and the Transportation-Land Use Connection

§  For reference:  Federal Transportation Policy and the Role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations in California

§  For fun:  SCAG video on their regional transportation plan (scroll down)



Section – Discussion TBD


§  For reference:  The California Eminent Domain Handbook



Planning in practice – Meea Kang, Domus Development Inc.

Catch-up or read ahead!

§  Of interest:  Meea Kang on YouTube on Best Local Practices for Infill Development in California



Natural Resource Protection

Class 12 Powerpoint

Class 12 Study sheet


§ Chapter 22

§ “Endangered Species Act at 40” – Planning Mag

§ “The Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan” – Environmental Management

§ “Western Riverside County Multiple Species Plan” – APA California Planner

§  For fun:  "The Unforeseen" website and trailer

§  Of interest:  20th Anniversary of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan

§  For reference:  Riverside County – Regional Conservation Authority

§  For reference:  Natural Communities Conservation Planning program

§  For reference:  California Endangered Species Act

§  For reference:  The Land Use – Air Quality Linkage from CARB



Section – Peer reviews of papers



Planning in Practice -

Ag land preservation – David Morrison


§ “Farmersville California” – Planning Mag

§ “Wine Wars” – Planning Mag

§ “Saving Farms and Farmland” – Planning Mag

§ “Farming at the Fringe” – Planning Mag

§  For reference:  American Farmland Trust – Farming on the Edge

§  For reference:  California Farmland Conversion Reports

§  For reference:  Summary of farmland protection tools

§  For reference:  Information on the Williamson Act from the State's Division of Land Resource Protection



Addressing the human-nature interface

Class 13 Powerpoint

Class 13 Study sheet

§ Chapters 21 and 23

§ “In the Path of the Inferno” – Planning Mag

§ “Living in Earthquake Country” – Planning Mag

§ “The Best Defense” – Planning Mag

§ “2001: Year of Extreme Weather” – Planning Mag

§  For fun:  Hurricane Sandy on Bikes in NYC on Vimeo

§  International example:  “Hanoi on the Brink” – Planning Mag

§  Another international example:  “Sweden’s Radical Plan to Move an Entire City” – watch the video

§  International Example:  “Tsunami Relief Building” – Planning Mag

§  For reference:  General Plan Guidelines - Chapter 10 and Safety Element in Chapter 4

§  For reference:  Fire Hazard Planning



Section – Review for final

Study sheet for final

2011 take-home final

PAPER DUE at 11:59 pm via SmartSite





Course wrap-up

Class 14 Powerpoint

Chapter 24

§  For reference:  Public Policy Institute of California on…

§  Getting to 2025: Can California Meet the Challenges?

§  California’s Future: In Your Hands

§  Special Survey on Californians and the Future

§  Of interest:  JFK's speech at UC Berkeley March 1962

§  For fun:  Valley of Heart’s Delight – Santa Clara Valley in the 1950s.



FINAL – 8:00 am – 10:00 am

 Have a great summer!

For fun:  The periodic table of planning

Planning abroad:






Paper Ideas


Sign up for Planetizen, a weekly catalogue of newspaper and webpage articles addressing current planning issues.  This is a great way to learn about what’s going on in the field, and might give you ideas for paper topics.   


CityLab from the Atlantic publishes insightful articles on timely issues related to cities and planning.


Urbanful is another interesting website with articles on current planning issues. 

Planetizen’s Top Planning Trends of 2015 – December 2015


The Local Government Commission, based in Sacramento, is a non-profit organization “working to build livable communities.”  Their website includes lots of information on problems that cities currently face, as well as examples of innovative solutions.  This is another good place to start for your papers.


For ideas on solutions for your third paper, check the "planning opportunities" section of the Energy Aware Planning Guide - lots of good ideas, information, and examples on all kinds of planning strategies.  (Caution:  This one takes a while to load.)


“Best of the Web” on Urban and Regional Planning – I haven’t used this site, but it looks like a good resource.


Good References

Smart Growth America also has lots of good resources on techniques that cities are using to address issues related to growth.   See these reports on the impacts of sprawl and the benefits of smart growth:


-       “Measuring Sprawl and Its Impacts” – Smart Growth America

-       “Endangered by Sprawl” – Smart Growth America

-       “Energy and Smart Growth” - Funders Network

-       Protecting Water Resources With Smart Growth” – Environmental Protection Agency.  

-       “Attracting Infill Development in Distressed Communities” – Environmental Protection Agency


The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research is the place to go for information on state laws and policies related to planning.  Their website hosts several key publications on planning in California.

The Local Government Commission  promotes innovative planning practices in California and elsewhere.  This website has a wealth of information.


There’s also the Institute for Local Government.  The mission of this institute, a branch of the League of California Cities, is to “serve as a source of independent research and information that supports and improves the development of public policy on behalf of California communities and cities.”   The stuff on their website seems to focus a lot on financing issues.

Visit the Environment & Resources page of the Welcome to California website for links to all kinds of good data about natural resources in California.

Non-profit organizations play a crucial role in efforts to conserve land in California: American Farmland TrustThe Land Trust Alliance, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts


Interesting Stuff


Cyberbia, "the urban planning portal," has links to all kinds of planning related things.  This is a good place to get to know what's going on in the field and to find links to useful resources.  See “what people think I do” as a planner.

The American Planning Association is another good place to go to find out what planning is all about.  Check out the website for the California Chapter.


Thinking about graduate programs in city planning?  Check out the Guide to Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in Urban and Regional Planning, published by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, as well as their “Careers in Planning” page.  A News and World Report article on “what is an urban planner?”.  Also, did you know that planning is on the top-ten list of high-pay/low-stress jobs…? 

The Long Range Development Plan for the UC Davis campus is fun to take a look at, especially the Neighborhood Master Plan for West Village.  

An overview of Davis City Planning going back to 1925.


Trying to decide where to go after Davis?  Check the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index and the Walk Score for potential locations.


An article on the language known as “plannerese”







Return to Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Return to Susan Handy’s home page








Last updated 6/1/16