Urban Planning 525 • Regional Planning •
Fall 2023

Prof. Scott Campbell
(734) 763-2077
OFFICE HOURS (in-person and online options)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:00 - 11:20 am (first class: Tues, Aug 29)
2108 Art & Architecture Building

(2nd floor, on same hallway as the dean and college admin offices)

last updated Saturday, November 18, 2023 4:25 PM

Readings: you can find readings in three different locations:

Class Canvas site • class readings (usually pdf files) organized by Modules
eBooks "bookshelf" (contains digital copies of full text books, available through the UM Library. set up a free account). Note: I have put many books on regionalism in this bookshelf, some are required readings, but most are simply available if you have deeper interests in a specific topic.
• via web links (I'll provide the url)
[Note: if the source not listed, the reading is located in Canvas]

landmarks of US regional planning map [to be added]


Quick links to sections of this page (by dates and themes):

Aug 29 - Sep 12

Sep 19

Sep 21 - 28

Oct 3 - 10

Oct 12 - 26

Oct 31 - Nov 7

Nov 9 - 16

Nov 21 - 30

Dec 5

Introduction, History, Politics

Visualizing/Mapping the Region

San Francisco Bay Area

Metro Detroit

New York metro area

Sunbelt Regionalism




Course Overview

This graduate course provides an introduction to regional planning, development and analysis. The regionalist tradition represents a distinctive worldview to analyze metropolitan development, envision alternative conceptions and scales of community, and structure institutional responses to environmental, economic and social challenges. We examine the history, institutional practices, idealism and limitations of regional planning. Regional efforts have alternately targeted economic, environmental and social equity goals. Themes include regional economic development, land preservation, regional sustainability efforts, city-suburb relations, water resource management, megaregions, and transportation infrastructure. Case studies may include New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Portland, Metro Detroit, EU regionalism and Asian megaregions.

We examine the lack of regional planning in the United States both as American exceptionalism and as myth. We explore the disparities between regional idealism and the actual practice of regional planning and management, as well the divergent views of the region as an economic system, an infrastructural network, an ecological habitat, and an administrative district.

Class Prerequisites
There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Previous coursework in urban planning, urban studies, local/regional politics, and/or environmental policy would be useful (but not necessary) preparation. Students from other programs (such as architecture, SEAS, public policy, business, social work, etc.) are encouraged to participate. Advanced undergrads with some background in urban planning courses are welcomed. I welcome all students to sit in on first week of class and see if the course is a good fit.

Students are expected to complete all the required readings before the start of class and be ready to actively participate in class discussions. Students will also make group presentations, write five short response papers (ca. 3 pages each) and one regional mapping/representation exercise. There will be no final exam.  The first short assignment (the mapping exercise) will be due Sep 14. LINK TO ASSIGNMENT PAGE.


Schedule of Weekly Readings (DRAFT - will be updated through the summer)
Location of readings: Books available electronically via eBooks are labeled. If source not listed, the reading is located in Canvas (organized by Modules).

Aug 29:   Introduction

Central Questions for the Course include:  


Aug 31:    The Case for Regional Planning; the Politics (Boosters, Coalitions and Oppositions)

Below are selections from two well-known edited books on regional planning, with a focus on the broader purpose and context of regional planning. Both books are available via the UM Library's eBooks system. Be sure to create your own free account for easy access to eBooks.

  1. Seltzer, Ethan, and Armando Carbonell, "Regional planning in America : practice and prospect," in Seltzer, Ethan, and Armando Carbonell. 2011. Regional planning in America : practice and prospect. Cambridge, Mass.: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Chapter 1 (pp. 1-16): [eBooks link]
  2. Kathryn A. Foster, "A Region of One's Own," in Seltzer and Carbonell (Chapter 3, pp. 53-80).
  3. Rosan, C. D. (2016). Governing the Fragmented Metropolis: Planning for Regional Sustainability. University of Pennsylvania Press. Chapter 1 (read pp 1-17), "Planning for a Metropolitan Future."
    [alt source: access the entire book online via this link]

Optional Readings:

Sep 5: Mapping and Visualizing the Region: short lecture and then workshop

I will begin the class with some basic ideas and guidelines about representing regions. We will then spend most of the class in a quasi-workshop format. The goal is to give you a jump start on the regional mapping assignment (due Sep 14): sharing ideas, tips, methods, questions, obstacles. My plan is to have you break into small groups to share ideas with each other about the assignment (see below).

I will provide some optional background readings (on mapping, regional concepts) on the syllabus, but focus your preparation efforts for tomorrow’s class on your mapping assignment:

To Do before class:

  1. Please fill in information on your mapping project on this document in the shared class google folder:
    URP525 (Fall 2023): Student Worksheet for the Regional Mapping Task

  2. Review this google shared doc on mapping resources and examples. Please provide comments on any mapping tools you know or have tried (including user experiences, praise and criticism), and add any examples of maps (and mapping resources) you find:
    URP525 (Fall 2023): Resources for the Regional Mapping Task
    [Note: don’t be shy about adding to this page: all experiences with mapping tools and resources will be useful.]

For class:
3. Be ready discuss, with other students in a small group format, these questions:
a. What elements have you considered using to articulate/visualize the region? (e.g., centers, subcenters, corridors, networks, edges/boundaries, natural features)
b. What aspect(s) of the region are most important? Ecological? Economic? Social? Infrastructural? Political? etc. (will you focus on one, or try to combine several?)
c. How much will you defer to existing definitions of regions (e.g., using current US Census definitions of MSAs, etc. and follow county boundaries) or instead strive for an original, novel definition of the region and its boundaries?)
d. How are you planning to prepare your map? By hand? With a computer sketch application? GIS? etc. Will you use a base map?
e. What problems/challenges have you encountered or anticipated in this assignment? How might you get around these problems?
f. Do you think both the process of creating the map and the final map itself will alter how you (or others) will view and understand the region?

Some optional/background reading on maps and mapping:


Sep 7: Megaregions: the next step in the evolution of the region?

  1. Ross, Catherine L.(ed.). 2009. Megaregions : Planning for Global Competitiveness. Covelo, CA, USA: Island Press. [Introduction, Chs. 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13] [eBooks]
  2. Tracy Hadden Loh and Annelies Goger. 2020. In the age of American ‘megaregions,’ we must rethink governance across jurisdictions. Brookings report. May 7. [link]
Optional Readings:

Link to google doc for use during in-class small group discussion

Sep 12: Interregional Migration and Regional Growth and Decline

The (optional but encouraged) Task:
Pick an example of migration, either intra-regional or inter-regional.  Prepare a slide (or several if needed) that briefly gives an overview of this migration and its impact on regional development (either the internal restructuring and inequalities within the region, or the growth/decline/development of the region overall).  Be ready to briefly talk about your example.  (Hopefully these various examples will enrich our understanding of the rich, dynamic relationship between regional development/change and human migration.)  Slides might include maps, timelines, graphics, data tables/charts, photos, text, etc. Here is the Link to google slide file (in the class folder) with both instructions (on the first slide) and where you will upload your own slide example. Thank you.


rather than providing a specific list of required readings, I encourage you instead to read selectively about those examples and themes of migration that most interest you and help you complete the above task. Below are some suggested readings. (Note: there is a huge literature out there on migration from various perspectives and disciplines.) I will begin Monday's class with a broad overview of the basics of migration (from demography) and its relationship to regional growth and development. We will then listen to and discuss your examples (see above task).

Migration Data and Mapping:
US Census: Census Flows Mapper * Internal Migration in The U.S. - Exploring the Census Flows Mapper * State-to-State Migration Flows * Migration/Geographic Mobility CPS Historical Migration/Geographic Mobility Tables DataMigration Flows Data Available for Counties, Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Minor Civil Divisions
NY Times: Mapping Migration in the United States

[Note: if you are not a subscriber to a newspaper and you hit a paywall, you can access the article through the UM Library. But even better: UM students are provided access to the NY Times through the central student government.
There's quick registration process, but once you complete it, you should have access to direct links.  https://www.csg.umich.edu/subscriptions [You can also get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal.]

Link to google slide file -- where you can add your own example (to be discussed in class)

Sep 14: Working Session (for those NOT out of town on the MURP "Expanded Horizons" annual trip)

Schedule change: because many students will be leaving early this morning on the Expanded Horizons trip, I have shifted the Mapping student presentations (and due date) from Sep 14 to the following Tuesday (Sep 19).

Those students in town will meet as usual and we will have an informal, interactive working session on upcoming assignments and related topics, including the mapping assignment and, if useful, the student group presentations.

--> Please feel free to email me ahead of time with any specific questions, methods, data sources, etc. you want to discuss during this session. Thank you.

Sep 19: Student Presentations: Visualizing the Region

You will upload your slides here (in this google slide file)

[see the assignment page for the first assignment instructions]


Sep 21: San Francisco Bay Area

  1. Walker, Richard A. 2009. Country in the City : The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area. Seattle, WA, USA: University of Washington Press. [Introduction, Chs. 1-5] [eBooks]


Sep 26: San Francisco Bay Area - Day 2

  1. Walker, Richard A. 2009. Country in the City : The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area. Seattle, WA, USA: University of Washington Press. [Introduction, Chs. 6-10, Conclusion] [eBooks]
  2. Hing Wong. "Regional Governance in the San Francisco Bay Area: The History of the Association of Bay Area Governments"

optional background readings:

Sep 28: San Francisco Bay Area - Student Presentation (Group 1)

[see signup list for presenters]


Oct 3: Detroit and Southeast Michigan, or Can a Region Thrive with a Struggling Central City?

  1. Barrow, Heather B. 2004. "'The American Disease of Growth': Henry Ford and the Metropolitanization of Detroit, 1920 - 1940." In Manufacturing Suburbs : Building Work and Home on the Metropolitan Fringe, edited by Robert Lewis. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. [eBooks]
  2. Sugrue, Thomas J. 1998. The Origins of the Urban Crisis. Princeton: Princeton Univ Press. [excerpt: chapter 5] see also entire book in eBooks]
  3. Galster, George. 2012. [Metropolitan Portraits] Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City. Philadelphia, PA, USA: University of Pennsylvania Press. (Ch. 10. "What Drives Detroiters?" and Ch. 11. "From Motown to Mortropolis"; see also Ch. 2: "Sculpting Detroit: Polity and Economy Trump Geology") [eBooks]

see also:

Oct 5: Detroit and Southeast Michigan - Day 2

  1. Manning Thomas, June, and Bekkering, Henco, eds. 2015. Mapping Detroit : Land, Community, and Shaping a City. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. [eBooks] (Ch 9. Redesigning Community with Propinquity: Fragments of Detroit’s Region, June Manning Thomas)
  2. Batterman, Joel, 2021, A_Metropolitan Dilemma (dissertation final version, urban planning, University of Michigan) [ please read Chapter 4 and the Conclusion.]

    Metro Detroit Regionalism -- Worksheet for Small Groups


Oct 10: Detroit and Southeast Michigan - Student Presentation (Group 2)


Oct 12: New York City and the Tri-State area

  1. G. L. P., Regional Plan of New York and its Environs , Town Planning Review, 15-2 (1932-Nov.) p.123, (author, G. L. P.) [in Canvas]
  2. Benjamin, Gerald and Richard P. Nathan. 2001. Regionalism and Realism: A Study of Governments in the New York Metropolitan Area. Washington, DC: Brookings. selections from Chapters 1-6 eBooks]

background readings:

NOTE: the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has produced four regional plans:


Oct 17: NO CLASS

[Note: No class today due to the fall study break on Mon & Tues, Oct 16 & 17]


Oct 19: NO CLASS

[Note: No class today due to the annual Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning conference.]


Oct 24: New York City and the Tri-State area - Day 2

  1. Benjamin, Gerald and Richard P. Nathan. 2001. Regionalism and Realism: A Study of Governments in the New York Metropolitan Area. Washington, DC: Brookings. selections from Chapters 7 - 9; 11
  2. Robert Yaro, "Growing and Governing Smart: A Case Study of the New York Region" in Katz, Bruce, ed. 2000. Reflections on Regionalism. Washington, DC: Brookings. [eBooks link]
  3. Defilippis, James and Niedt, Christopher. "9. New York’s Suburbs in a Globalized Metropolitan Region". The Life of North American Suburbs, edited by Jan Nijman, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020, pp. 170-198.

also: review the Fourth Regional Plan (RPA), including the executive summary


Oct 26: New York City and the Tri-State area - Student Presentation (Group 3)


Oct 31: Case Study: Sunbelt Regionalism - Day 1, Los Angeles

  1. Fulton, William B. 2001. The Reluctant Metropolis: The Politics of Urban Growth in Los Angeles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. [Introduction, Ch 3] [in Canvas]
  2. Pastor, Manuel, J. Eugene Grigsby, and Marta Lopez-Garza. 2000. Regions That Work : How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together. Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press. (Chs. 1-3) [eBooks]
  3. Gottlieb, Robert. 2007. Reinventing Los Angeles : Nature and Community in the Global City. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.[Chs 1,3] [eBooks]

see also:


Nov 2: Case Study: Sunbelt Regionalism - Day 2, Atlanta

  1. Basmajian, C.W. (2013). Atlanta UnboundEnabling Sprawl through Policy and Planning. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. (Chs. 1-5, 7) [available through Project Muse]

see also:


Nov 7: Case Study: Sunbelt Regionalism - Student Presentation (Group 4)



Nov 9: Ecoregions: Sprawl and regional development, growth management, greenbelts, Suburban Retrofitting

  1. Saunders, William. 2005. Sprawl and Suburbia : A Harvard Design Magazine Reader. Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. (selected chapters: 1. Ellen Dunham- Jones, Seventy- five Percent: The Next Big Architectural Project; 4. Matthew J. Kiefer, Suburbia and Its Discontents: Notes from the Sprawl Debate; 5. Alex Krieger, The Costs— and Benefits?— of Sprawl; 6. Ellen Dunham- Jones, Smart Growth in Atlanta: A Response to Krieger and Kiefer [eBooks]
  2. Calthorpe, Peter. 2010. Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. Covelo, CA, USA: Island Press. (Ch. 5: The Urban Footprint and Ch. 8: Four American Futures) [eBooks]
  3. Carl Abbott & Joy Margheim. (2008) Imagining Portland's Urban Growth Boundary: Planning Regulation as Cultural Icon, Journal of the American Planning Association, 74:2, 196-208.

see also:


Nov 14: Ecoregions: Water & the River Basin as Region (Day 2)

  1. Reisner, M. 1993. Cadillac desert: the American West and its disappearing water. revised ed. New York and London: Penguin Books. (Introduction & Ch. 1, pp. 1-51)
  2. Abbott, Carl. How Cities Won the West : Four Centuries of Urban Change in Western North America. Albuquerque, NM, USA: University of New Mexico Press, 2010. (Ch. 9: Water, Power, Progress). [eBook]
  3. Annin, Peter. 2018. The Great Lakes Water Wars. Chicago: Island Press. (ideally read Chs 1,3,12,13) [Ebook]

see also:


Nov 16: Ecoregions: Student Presentation (Group 5)


Nov 21: Global Regions - Globalization's Impact on Regional Planning and Development (including the rise of "global city-regions) in the US and Asia

  1. Scott, Allen J., John Agnew, Edward W. Soja, and Michael Storper "Global City-Regions," in Scott, A. (Ed.) (2001). Global City-Regions: Trends Theory, Prospects. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 11-30. [in Canvas]
  2. Yi Li & Fulong Wu (2018) Understanding city-regionalism in China: regional cooperation in the Yangtze River Delta, Regional Studies, 52:3, 313-324 [also in Canvas]
  3. John Harrison & Hao Gu (2021) Planning megaregional futures: spatial imaginaries and megaregion formation in ChinaRegional Studies, 55:1, 77-89 [also in Canvas]

see also:


Nov 23: NO CLASS: Thanksgiving Break


Nov 28: Global Regions - European Union and Regional Planning

  1. Klaus Kunzmann. 2006. The Europeanization of Spatial Planning, in Adams, Neil (Editor). Regional Development and Spatial Planning in an Enlarged European Union. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Ashgate Publishing Group. (Chapter 3) [also available online via Taylor and Francis]
  2. Taylor, P.J. 'Regionality within Globalization: What Does it Mean for Europe?'GaWC Research Bulletin 35 (Z) html
  3. Krätke, S. The Metropolization of the European Urban and Regional System GaWC Research Bulletin 193 html
  4. Albrechts, Louis, Patsy Healey, Klaus R Kunzmann. 2003. Strategic spatial planning and regional governance in Europe. Journal of the American Planning Association.Vol.69, Iss. 2 (Spring):  113 - 129
  5. Faludi, Andrea, "The Megalopolis, the Blue Banana, and Global Economic Integration Zones in European Planning Thought," in Ross, Catherine L.(ed.). 2009. Megaregions : Planning for Global Competitiveness. Covelo, CA, USA: Island Press. [eBooks]

see also:


Nov 30: Student Presentation (Group 6)


Dec 5: Final Class & Synthesis & Future Directions for Regionalism

see final class task, including short presentations.