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Undergraduate Courses

100-Level Courses     200-Level Courses     300-Level Courses     400-Level Courses


100-Level Courses

UNST 107A City of Portland

The City of Portland, Oregon, and the greater Portland metropolitan area will provide the resources used in this Freshman Inquiry course to address the University Studies goals of Inquiry and Critical Thinking, Communication, The Diversity of Human Experience, and Ethics and Social Responsibility. During the academic year students will engage with various aspects of the city and the metropolitan area in a variety of ways. They will study how the City and the metropolitan area as a whole have changed over time. Students will also select rankings that compare cities and metropolitan areas across the United States and study why Portland ranks where it does. Working in groups, students will begin to critically analyze aspects of the City of Portland’s Central City Plan, which the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is producing. Syllabus


UNST 108A Portland! A Teaching and a Learning City Syllabus


200-Level Courses

USP 233 Real Estate Principles

Surveys the legal, physical, and economic structure of the real estate market and the characteristics of real estate resources.  Develops basic real estate valuation procedures and provides an overview of market analysis and real estate production, marketing and finance methods.  Prerequisites: EC

UNST 220 Understanding Communities

This course addresses social structural issues of communities embedded in their spatial, political, and economic contexts. Specific themes that may be explored include (a) community and identity (community formation and change; conflict and cooperation within and between communities; balancing individualism and community; social control), (b) historical development and current conditions of the American city, and (c) balancing individual rights with community responsibility. Syllabus.

UNST 234 Healthy People, Healthy Places

This course explores the ecological concept of health as a dynamic process of adaptation to a constantly changing environment. Students will examine the relationship between how we live our lives and the economic, social and physical environments that surround us. A term-long community-based project provides an opportunity for hands-on experience with the subject matter. Students will develop skills to study characteristics of the built environment that may influence health and apply lessons from urban planning and public health research to current and future problems. Syllabus.

USP 233 Real Estate Principles (3)

Surveys the legal, physical, and economic structure of the real estate market and the characteristics of real estate resources. Develops basis real estate valuation procedures and provides an overview of market analysis and real estate production, marketing and finance methods. Prerequisites: EC 201. 

300-Level Courses

USP 300 Introduction to Urban Studies (4)

Introduction to the interdisciplinary field of urban studies drawing on the urban planning, economics, geography, sociology, politics and the humanities to provide basic concepts for understanding the urbanized world of the twenty-first century. Cities as economic, social, and political systems and ways in which people have thought about cities.  Syllabus.

USP 301 Introduction to Community Development (4)

An investigation of concepts, models and perspectives of community development practice. Explores social, cultural, religious, political, economic and environmental aspects that affect community development practice. Asset-based and sustainable human development models and action research are emphasized. The course utilizes teaching cases and experts from the field and requires substantial reading reflection and discussion.

USP 302 Theory and Philosophy of Community Development (4)

1) New approaches to the philosophy of community; 2) theory and comparative practice, and 3) case study of local theory and practice, presentation of an in-depth case study from the Pacific Northwest.

USP 311U Introduction to Urban Planning (4)

An interdisciplinary perspective on planning theories, principles, and practice. Focuses on the planning process, particularly at the local level. Explores the political, economic, social, and legal forces that influence the planning function and the roles of planners. Changing concepts in practice are also considered. Prerequisite: upper-division standing. Syllabus.

USP 312U Urban Housing and Development (4)

Problems of housing, development, and redevelopment in an urban setting are analyzed from economic, demographic, and planning perspectives. Introduction to the nature of the urban economy and residential location, with a focus on housing problems and their associated social, physical, and racial aspects. Role of federal and community-based housing policies and programs. Recommended prerequisite: USP 311U. Syllabus.

USP 313 Urban Environmental Issues (4)

Environmental issues and problems are evaluated in the urban context. The course addresses both the origins of urban environmental problems and their economic and social implications. Finding solutions that attempt to achieve balance between social, economic, and ecological factors is addressed in the context of urban environmental policy, planning and community activism. Syllabus.

USP 314 The City in Film (4)

Critically examines urban social issues reflected in films from different countries. Includes in-class screening, lecture and discussion, and film review writing exercises. Topics for discussion include the urban form, issues of race, gender and social class, the relationships among communities, political authority, industry, commerce, police, street gangs, criminals, public schools, and other institutions and denizens of the city. Provides linkages to other courses in USP's undergraduate Community Development major and to issues related to urban studies. Syllabus.

USP 315 The Economics of Sports (4)

Investigates the application of economic theory to the particular arena of sports. Emphasis is placed on the theories of labor, industrial organization, and quantitative methods and their application to topics such as player compensation and movement, stadium financing, team relocation, and racial discrimination. This course is the same as Ec 315; course may only be taken once for credit.

USP 316 Community Organizing and Social Change (4)

Community organizing seeks to involve people in collective action to address issues of social change and social justice. This course covers the history, philosophy and goals of community organizing and various elements of the organizing process. Case studies will provide the basics for the development of action plans.

USP 317 Introduction to International Community Development (4)

An investigation of concepts, models and perspectives of International Community Development practice. Explores social, cultural, religious, political economic and environmental aspects that affect community development models and action research are emphasized. The course utilizes teaching cases and experts from the field and requires substantial reading reflection and discussion. Syllabus.

USP 324U (formerly 424U) Healthy Communities (4)

Addresses issues at the intersection of urban policy and planning and individual and community health. Relationships between the ways in which land is used, the transportation choices available, and the health of both urban places and city residents are explored in light of growing concern about increased rates of various health problems. Health consequences of political, economic, and social aspects of metropolitan life are also examined. Movements and programs to create and maintain healthy communities around the world are analyzed. Syllabus.

USP 325 Community and the Built Environment (4)

This course examines the relationships between urban form and social patterns, and efforts by urban designers to influence community life by shaping the built environment. The history of ideas about urban form and community development, and the history of proposed and implemented projects will be surveyed, and their relevance for contemporary urban planning and design practices will be assessed. Initiatives in the Portland metropolitan area to enhance community livability will be studied.

USP 326 Neighborhood Conservation and Change (4)

The dynamics of neighborhood development, including economic and institutional factors in neighborhood change, neighborhood definition and image, residential choice; residential segregation; neighborhoods in the political process; and neighborhood conservation strategies.

USP 350 Concepts of Public Participation (4)

Examination of principles, methods, and programs for giving explicit attention to the perspectives of the public in the development and implementation of public policies and programs. Sets public participation in its historical context with an assessment of its impact to date. Participation from the perspective of both the public and the government will be covered as will the variety of approaches for achieving participation goals and objectives.

USP 360 Real Estate Finance I (4) 

Application of finance and economic principles to analysis of real estate finance and investments.  Emphasis on the development of problem solving capabilities through the use of computer application programs. Special attention is given to risk analysis, alternative mortgage instruments, hedging techniques, and the tax effects of real estate investment. Prerequisites:  Ec 201. (The course is cross listed as RE 360, and may only be taken once for credit). Syllabus.

USP 385 History of American Cities (4)

Traces the evolution of urban centers from the colonial period to the present. Focuses on the developing system of cities, on growth within cities, and on the expansion of public responsibility for the welfare of urban residents. Particular attention is given to the industrial and modern eras.Recommended prerequisite: upper division standing. Also listed as Hst 337. May be taken only once for credit. Syllabus.

USP 386 Portland Past and Present (4)

Begins with the geological/geographical foundations of Portland then briefly explores Portland's original inhabitants, early exploration and commercial growth. Particular attention is paid to the 20th century and the plans and projects that have guided Portland's development over the past 100 years. Considers the shaping of Portland as a regional city, examining the evolving cityscape, architecture, land use, and transportation, and its development from political, social, economic, and cultural perspective.

400-Level Courses

USP 411/511 Pedestrian & Bicycle Planning Lab (2)

A practical approach to bicycle and pedestrian planning and design through a project-based course that focuses on all aspects of the planning process. Students research and develop solutions to a practical challenge in the Portland region and present recommendations in report and presentation form. Prerequisites: junior standing.  Syllabus.

USP 414/514 Transportation Seminar (1)

This weekly seminar features a different speaker each week covering various topics in transportation research and practice. The topics cover all modes of transportation, with a focus on current practice. Course is cross-listed with CE. This course may be taken for credit up to three times.

USP 419/519 Population and Society (4)

Survey and analysis of population dynamics (births, deaths, and migration) and society. Examination of demographic concepts, theories, data and measurements, and research. Role of population processes in social life and public policies are highlighted, including population aging, economic development and the environment, urbanization, health and health care, race and ethnicity, and government/social/business planning. Prerequisite: Soc 200. This course is the same as Soc 441/541; course may only be taken once for credit. Syllabus

UNST 421 Urban Agriculture and Food Systems (6)

This course revolves around a fundamental question: How do we mend the "metabolic rift" between farm and fork, ie, the socio-ecological rupture between city dwellers and the food they consume? In this Capstone, we will critically examine the limits and possibilities of urban agriculture's contribution to the food system through a twin lens of social science and agroecology. Syllabus.

UNST 421 Neighborhoods and Watersheds (6) 

This course addresses the health of cities with respect to the community stewardship of its watersheds. Students are challenged in a learning and community development process of discovery and direct involvement. The essential elements of the Capstone focus on the factors that can contribute to the health of Portland's watersheds. Students work with the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and a neighborhood group on projects that may include "hands on" activities and/or community outreach/education on work involving watershed protection and restoration in Portland neighborhoods. Projects in the past have included such watershed enhancements as wetlands restoration, community gardens, eco-roofs and bio-swales.

UNST 421, Debt Cancellation and the Millennium Development Goals: Grassroots Advocates Changing the Terms of the Debate (6) 

Debt cancellation is one of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals** that seek to eradicate poverty by 2015. More than half of African nations continue to spend more on debt than health care for their citizens. Sub-Saharan Africa pays almost $1.5 billion in debt services to the wealthy nations and international financial institutions. This course will explore such questions as: What are the origins of the debt burden? Does this debt burden impact South-North migration? What impact do global advocacy networks have on international institutions? Our community partner will be Jubilee Oregon. For more information, contact Pat Rumer

UNST 421, Implementing "Portland 2030," One City's Vision (6)

The class will work with the Mayor's office, City of Portland staff, and members of the larger community in helping initiate the implementation of the vision for Portland, which has been developed over the past two years. Coursework will include research, interviews, community meetings, drafting ideas and plans, and working with community organizations (government, neighborhoods, nonprofits, businesses) to ensure (1) broad public involvement in the vision-implementation process and (2) that the vision's implementation gets off to a strong start. The class will include a brief study of vision-making in Portland as well as the process for community vision-making and implementation in the context this city. All majors are welcome and encouraged to enroll; urban studies is not a prerequisite.

USP 423 Real Estate Development (4)

Examines urban real estate development, including location of activities within metropolitan areas, public/private partnerships, downtown redevelopment, and affordable housing. Presents tools to evaluate the financial feasibility and performance of a project, including discounting of cash flows and pro forma analysis. Uses a case study method showing how the design, development, market, finance, construction, and management of the project are integrated. Prerequisites for undergraduates: BA 303 or USP 311. Syllabus.

USP 427/527 Downtown Revitalization (3)

This course examines the evolution and revitalization of downtowns and main streets over time. It explores the role of downtowns in contemporary urban regions, and introduces the concepts of downtown management and other strategies for promoting vital urban centers. Through readings, field observations, classroom discussions, and a series of assignments, students will explore the interrelationships between the built environment, economic trends, and public policy in shaping the downtowns we see today. Students should learn to understand downtowns as complex and multi-faceted places that are always changing and unpredictable, but often play a crucial role in a community's identity and purpose.  Syllabus.

USP 429 Poverty in the Urban Community (3)

This is an introductory course about the nature, extent, and causes of poverty in the United States. It covers a brief historical overview, demographics and trends, explanations of poverty, and anti-poverty policies. Questions of race, gender, and the spatial manifestation of poverty will be addressed. Syllabus.

USP 430 Participatory Research Methods for Community Development (4)

This course introduces students to participatory methods, placing special emphasis on research ethics, the positionality of the researcher, and embedding research within community development practice. It focuses on research design, data collection, data analysis, and the dissemination of results. Various approaches to measuring urban phenomena are covered, including basis interview techniques, survey methods, and quantitative analytical methods.  Syllabus.

USP 431 Urban Economics (4)

Functions of the urban economy: the market sector and the public sector. Economics analysis of issues such as land use, environmental quality, transportation, housing, income distribution and financing of urban public services. Prerequisite: Ec 201. Syllabus.

USP 438/538 Real Estate Law (3)

Provides students with a comprehensive summary of real property from a legal perspective with an emphasis on transactional issues.  Includes issues relating to types of ownership, descriptions of property, easements, public and private limitations on use, real estate contracts, forms utilized in transfers, financing and title assurances. The class will enable students to understand the legal framework and the rights and responsibilities of owners and transferors/transferees of real property. Prerequisites: EC 201 (undergraduates). Expected preparation for graduate students: RE 521. This is the same course as RE 438/538; may be taken only once for credit. Syllabus.

USP 440 Measuring People and Communities in the Urban Context (4)

This is an applied research methods course that provides students with the essential data skills for quantitatively measuring social, economic, and demographic trends across urban places. The course provides students with an appreciation for underlying theoretical and practical research methods for identifying, measuring, and conceptualizing trends specific to urban places. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

USP 445/545 Cities and Third World Development (3)

Critical survey of historical, economic, cultural, political, and urban aspects of Third World development, starting with the colonial era. Historical patterns of integration of the Third World with the emerging world market system. Covers problems of the post-independence period, focusing on urban sectoral issues and policy alternatives. Specific topics include trade, investment, industrialization, finance, technology transfer, political participation, land use, housing, transportation, information infrastructure, population growth, social services, militarism, and cultural conflict. Syllabus. 

USP 451/551 Community Economic Development (3)

Course sets community Economic Development within the context of traditional state and local economic development policy and compares their underlying theoretical perspectives. It examines the impact of recent economic, social and demographic transformations on local labor markets and surveys the labor-market problem solving activities of local governments and community-based organizations. Business and commercial development strategies are also explored. Syllabus.

USP 452 GIS for Community Development (4)

This course uses lab exercises and lectures to help students develop an in-depth understanding and basic skills for the uses of geographic information systems in community development and planning. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

USP 455/555 Land Use: Legal Aspects (3)

Land use and planning from the legal perspective. Includes historical review of attitudes toward property tenure and ownership; the relationship between local planning and regulations; and current issues and perspectives on land use including emerging state and federal roles. Graduate students undertake a substantial independent project in addition to other requirements. Syllabus.

USP 456/556 Urban Transportation: Problems and Policies (3)

An introduction to urban transportation policy from a historical and political perspective. Historical developments in transportation policy are traced from the early streetcar days up through the present. Federal, state, and local transportation policies are examined for their impact on urban spatial and economic development. An overview of current issues in transportation policy and planning includes transportation demand management strategies, transit-oriented design, road pricing, and alternative transportation modes. The intersection of environmental and transportation policy is also examined, as is the decision-making structure at the local, regional, and state level. Syllabus.

USP 457/557 Information Cities (3)

Focuses on the political, social, and cultural impacts of mass media and information technologies within the urban matrix. Contextualizes the "information society" in historical, institutional, political, economic, and global settings. Topics include flexible production, the segmentation of consumption, alternatives to mass media, the Web, the reorganization of work, the transnationalization of culture, commercial and political surveillance, and the development of urban information infrastructure. Syllabus

USP 460 Community Development Field Seminar (6)

Participant observation through placement in a community-based organization actively engaged in community development activities on behalf of a specific community, and critical reflection on the placement experience. Prerequisites: completion of the Community Development Core and at least one course or an equivalent from among those listed in Methods in Community Development.

USP 465/565 Pedestrian And Bicycle Planning (3)

Examines the importance of walking and bicycling as means of transportation in a sustainable urban environment. Covers planning, design, implementation, and maintenance of bikeways and walkways, as well as ancillary facilities such as bicycle parking. Focus on the role of education, advocacy and outreach in improving walking and bicycling conditions. Study relevant examples from various cities, with heavy emphasis on Portland's experience. Syllabus.

USP 468/568 Oregon Land Use Law (3)

The Oregon program is placed in a national context that stresses the broad nature of planning here. Structural relations between state, regional, and local government planning and regulation are analyzed. Legal aspects of the implementation of the various functional statewide planning goals are studied, as are the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and recent developments in local government land use planning and regulatory processes. Syllabus.

USP 475/575 Urban Design Workshop (4)

This workshop will explore the use of urban design as an integral part of the planning process through the creation of an urban design plan. Projects in the Portland region will be chosen to familiarize students with the practice of urban design planning and the products of the workshop will be presented to the public. Prerequisites: enrollment in good standing in the MARCH or MURP graduate degree programs or permission of instructor. Syllabus.

USP 480/580 Political Economy of Nonprofit Organizations (3)

Considers theories of altruism, trust, and social capital. Examines the connections between wealth and social responsibility and between elite status and social reproduction. Explores the broad scope of nonprofit activity in the economy, the interdependence of government and nonprofit organizations in the modern state, and the role of think tanks in shaping public policy. Surveys the dramatic rise of non-governmental organizations in developing countries and the future of nonprofits in a global economy. Syllabus.

USP 490/590 Green Economics & Sustainable Development (3)

Examines prevailing assumptions about economic growth, production, consumption, labor, and leisure. Considers how changes in these basic assumptions might help us design an economic system that includes alternative values such as appropriate scale, community impact and environmental sustainability. Syllabus.

USP 493/593 Public Participation GIS (3)

Offered as a studio-based GIS class. The objective is for students to apply GIS skills acquired in previous GIS courses to a specific real-world spatial problem. Tasks will involve problem definition, primary data collection, advanced GIS analysis, and presentation of results. This format will give students practical experience in implementing GIS technologies with specific emphasis on planning problems. Students will be required to work in small groups in a simulated professional planning practice environment. Expected preparation: USP 531 and USP 543 or USP 591 and 592. Syllabus.

USP 496/596 Affordable Housing Finance (3)

Introduction to the unique challenges of financing and developing affordable housing projects. The challenges and tools for financing rental as well as owner-occupied housing will be covered, and case studies will be used to illustrate the ways in which financing for affordable housing is created and used, and poses unique challenges for investors, jurisdictions, and community-based groups. Expected preparation: USP 312U. Syllabus.