Undergraduate Courses

To see a list of when courses are planned to be offered, please see the Course Projection Guide. This guide has courses for the whole university.

200-Level Courses

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 (Hough), Syllabus (Ho), Syllabus (McKinney)

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 201. Has not been offered since Spring 2014.

300-Level Courses

USP 300U 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 (Hough), Syllabus (McGrath), Syllabus (McKinney)

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. Syllabus (Chivers), Syllabus (McGrath)

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. Syllabus (Bates), Syllabus (Kresta), Syllabus (Toussaint)

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 (Hough), Syllabus (Horst)

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 (Gebhardt), Syllabus (Fang)

USP 313U 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 (Messer), Syllabus (Marotta), Syllabus (Liu).

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 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. Syllabus

USP 317U 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 323U 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. 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. Syllabus (Ho, CCJO).

USP 325U 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. Syllabus.

USP 326U 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. Syllabus.

USP 350U Inclusive Engagement (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. 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. Has not been offered since Summer 2015.

400-Level Courses

USP 410/510 TOP: International Seminar (1) - This one ­credit International seminar creates an online discussion forum for conversations on international urban issues. It aims to support the critical understanding of urbanization issues comparatively in a global context. Adapting to the distance learning format, this forum is open to all students in Portland State University.  It is also open to the local community. It is composed of the lecture and zoom discussion meeting, two major parts. Syllabus.

USP 410/510 Urban Rural Ambassadors Institute. Students develop the capacity to forge a path through the tension and stalemate that often characterize the urban-rural debate and to find strategies that fit local economies, values, and ways of life for the advancement of Oregon as a whole. See https://www.pdx.edu/policy-consensus-center/urban-rural-ambassadors-institute

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 413/513 Public Space (4) - An introduction to the study of public spaces in American cities, with a special focus on Portland. Key readings include history and theory of concepts of public space, as well as contemporary case studies and field assignments to understand the production and maintenance of public spaces in and around Portland. Syllabus.

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.

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. Has not been offered since Fall 2016.

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. Has not been offered since Summer 2012.

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 439/539 Workforce Development (3) - This course introduces students to theory and practice of workforce development, which is the system of programs, public policies and institutions that help workers and employers connect to one another in the labor market and make investments in skills and careers that promote household, business and community economic prosperity. Students will learn about challenges in contemporary urban labor markets inspiring policy intervention, and will be introduced to various workforce development institutions, programs and practitioners over the course of the term.  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. Syllabus.

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. Syllabus (Xiao), Syllabus (Wang).

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. Has not been offered since Spring 2011.

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. Syllabus.

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. 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. Has not been offered since Fall 2012.

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