Urban planning is charged with attending to the myriad dynamics that make places attractive for living, working, investing and visiting; and weighing the politically palatable, socially acceptable, and financially feasible dimensions of social actions. Economic development is an essential component of urban planning that is primarily concerned with the “economic” health of urban dwellers and urban spaces. Therefore, economic development focuses on questions of economic growth, capital investment, local competitiveness, in addition to, poverty reduction, equitable opportunity structures, employment, wages human capital development and labor market practices.
This seminar demanded reflection on assumptions about: the ‘public good,’ equitable development, ‘public’ and ‘private’ interests, social stratification, the market, racialization of space, costs and benefits, equality and geographic scale (neighborhood, city, region, global). All of these topics were examined in their relationship to the ways LED planning and decision‐making are carried out. Students questioned whether these assumptions influence the types of outcomes we accept as “Fair and Just.” This seminar prepared students to examine economic development dilemmas with both technical acumen and essential, yet under‐emphasized, critical thinking skills.