Cities are developed by a complex blend of public and private actors and actions. This course employs a combination of lectures, discussions, readings, case studies, and individual and group exercises to help students understand, evaluate, and implement public and private development. The course commences with instruction about core analytic methods, emphasizing real estate financial analysis while also addressing modified cost-benefit, economic impact, and fiscal impact analyses. Early classes also explore legal, institutional, administrative, political, and ethical contextual frameworks. Together, the analytic methods and contextual frameworks allow for elaboration of decision rules about thoughtful balances in the deployment of public and private resources. The remainder of the course covers specific implementation tools including, among others, public subsidies, public land disposition through sale or lease, public land acquisition through eminent domain, value capture mechanisms, community benefits agreements, and business improvement districts. The goal of the course is to foster reflective practitioners, whether planners, designers, developers, public policymakers, or advocates, who think critically and pragmatically as they navigate the trade-offs inherent in public-private city building. Note that most of the implementation tools and examples explored in the course are drawn from United States practice, but international tools and examples are introduced from time to time to demonstrate the range of variation.
Also offered by the Graduate School of Design as SES-05103. Please note, this is a jointly offered course hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to the academic and attendance policies of that school.