The economy - at the community, national, and international levels - is one of the highest profile issues of the day. Taxes, jobs, regulations, and housing values are all topics of conversation. This course will enable planners to understand many of the current policy efforts and debates about what needs to be done to improve the economy. At the community level this means having a grasp of how development, as it slows or as it booms, impacts public revenues and expenditures. Does development pay for itself? Is mixed-use development part of the answer? What are the indirect fiscal consequences of development? Can economic development strategies make a difference in meeting the costs of rising expectations for public services? How can developers participate in offsetting the costs of their projects? What is a fair share? These and other pertinent issues of the day will be addressed in this course. Students, additionally, will learn how to construct a spreadsheet model to measure the fiscal impact of new development. Classes will take place in a lecture/discussion format.
Basic microeconomic and macroeconomic principles; introduction to economic institutions; history of the current downturn; introduction to urban and regional economics; overview of commercial and residential real estate markets; basic appraisal methodologies; impact of the economy on local governments’ fiscal health; introduction to economic development; tools to measure the fiscal impact of new development; introduction to proffer policies in Virginia; economic perspective on sustainability; and introduction to environmental economics.
Requirements: Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions. Class participation will count toward 10% of course grade. There will be a midterm examination worth 40% the course grade. A fiscal impact spreadsheet project, and an accompanying memorandum, will count toward the remaining 50% of the course grade.
The course will rely on articles from web media such as Bloomberg.com, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post to illustrate basic economic principles and stimulate class discussion of the economy’s impact on the field of planning. Additional readings will come from Irrational Exuberance, by Robert J. Shiller, Economics of Density, published by the American Institute of Certified Planners, Environmental Economics, by Barry & Martha Field, and Economics of Planning, by Eric J. Heikkila. These additional readings will be available electronically.