Skip to main content

PLAN 390 is a Special Topics course, which means that the topic changes every semester and there may be several sections of PLAN 390 offered in the same semester, each covering a different subject.


Previous semester examples: 

PLAN 390.0001 (1.5 credits)
Title: Sustainable Energy Systems
Instructor: Noah Kittner

Description: Energy is critically important to society because it enables healthy and prosperous communities. This course will provide an introduction to urgent topics related to energy, sustainability, and the environment. The course material will focus on new technologies, policies, and plans in cities and different governing bodies in the energy system with a focus on developing tools to analyze energy for its sustainability, impact on people, the environment, and the economy. Topics range from investigating energy at different scales and considering how national, state-level, and municipal policies affect local energy generation and consumption. Much of the course will cover emerging renewable energy technologies including the smart grid, demand-response programs, energy efficiency options and how they help achieve climate and sustainability goals.

PLAN 390.001 (1.5 credits)
Title: Introduction to Neighborhood Opportunity Analysis
Instructor: Atticus Jaramillo

This course will introduce students to basic methods of analyzing disparities in access to neighborhood opportunity and outline how federal housing and community development policy has shaped access to neighborhood opportunity. The class will culminate with a final report that provides an analysis of access to opportunity in a metropolitan area of the student’s choice. Students will develop this paper through a series of lab-assignments.


PLAN 390.002 (1.5 credits)
Title: Introduction to Water Policy: The Future Depends on Water
Instructor: Ahmed Rachid El-Khattabi

Description: Freshwater is the single most important resource for sustaining human life and activity. Water resources, however, are often undervalued, overexploited, or otherwise mismanaged and under unprecedented stress due to changes in climate and increasing competition for limited resources. In this course, students will learn about current and future challenge of ensuring sufficient water supplies and be introduced to a range of tools including conservation, groundwater depletion, water law, cost–benefit analysis, demand and supply estimation, economic development policies, land-use policies, and pricing policies that will prepare them to thoughtfully engage on issues related to water scarcity.

This course will prepare students to address the issue of water scarcity through the following four learning objectives. First, students will develop an understanding of the status quo to grasp the complexity of managing water supplies. Second, this course will cover trends in climate, demographics, land-use, and economic development to help develop an appreciation for the most pressing problems facing us in the future. Third, students will be encouraged to think about the various actors and stakeholders in the water sector by examining issues from the perspective of the primary categories of water ‘users’ – agricultural, municipal, industrial, and wildlife. Fourth, this course will cover common policy interventions used to address different aspects of water scarcity and the challenges associated with each. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to think critically about these issues through writing op-eds and policy briefs.