The Planning Workshop is a problem-solving, client-based course designed to give students experience in applying planning theory and methods to actual problem situations in economic development, housing and community development, real estate, environmental planning, and land use and transportation.  Recent workshop examples follow.

Planning Workshop: Innovation, Technology Change, and Economic Development

This is a survey course intended to prepare PhD students to conduct original research on topics related to innovation, technological change, and economic development. Innovation is a multidisciplinary field, drawing from economics, management, sociology, law and history, among other disciplines. This course will introduce students to important theoretical and empirical questions, discuss fundamental background knowledge from the social sciences, and discuss the appropriateness of various methodologies and data sources for tackling open research questions. Key topics include fundamental models of innovation and technological change; sources of novel ideas; general purpose technologies; the geography of innovation, knowledge spillovers and diffusion; patents and intellectual property protection; firm innovative strategy, place-based economic development strategy; the sociology of science; and the use of history as an analytic tool.

The course is conducted as a seminar with active discussion with three objectives:

  • Examine the research literature, exploring both intellectual foundations and current developments.
  • explore the craft of conducting research. In particular, students will learn how to use the literature as a resource for research. We will explore different data sources.
  • Consider how scholars participate in academic and policy discussions and discuss professional conduct.

Planning Workshop: American Underground Transportation Workshop

Deliverables:  Diverse strategies to encourage less driving, to reduce demand for parking, and to support more sustainable transportation overall.

Background:  Durham is booming and many new companies, particularly tech-related companies, are setting up offices in Downtown Durham. Currently, downtown Durham has over 17,000 workers. Parking is emerging as a major barrier to increased growth. The current wait list is 200 people for monthly parking. Businesses are hoarding spaces to ensure access for future employees. New parking structures will not provide relief for two years. At the same time, the Chapel Hill Street Parking Structure will be torn down.

This course will provide analysis and recommendations to support our clients’ concerns about getting businesses/employees to reduce car dependence. Downtown Durham and American Underground are seeking ways to encourage less auto dependence to reduce parking demand. They want to make Durham a model for access and mobility.

Planning Workshop: Big Data and Smart city for Huawei

The goal of the DCRP Land Use workshop in fall 2017 is to help Guian New District in China with background research and strategic planning that will enable the district to effectively implement the concept of the “smart city.” Our work products will be used by the client to secure additional funding for its efforts; to generate marketing materials and strategies for promoting its programs; and most importantly, to identify mechanisms to implement the initiative.