The focus/question for this essay: Describe and analyse the state of a city you have lived in/visited
focusing on walkability, cycle-ability and use of public space. Your description should be related to
available economic, socio-cultural, environmental, urban form/design/aesthetic and governance
laws/legislations/policies in your city?
Most of us who work in the planning and design professions influence decisions about places we do
not know intimately. Being an active visitor to, or resident of a place – looking, listening, reading
reports, is an important skill. In the first assignment, students can select any city/urban area of their
choice based on their living experience there or visitation to the place.
In your essay. you are expected to focus on the five themes (socio-cultural, environmental,
economic, urban form/amenity and governance) and to use different data sources (literature, reports,
lecture material, etc.) to analyse how your selected city council is currently performing in relation to
the city laws, emphasizing walkability, cycle-ability and use of public space. You may devote more
space/energy in the essay to one theme, but you are expected to provide at least some
perspective/observation/analysis on all five.
Illustrations (maps, photos, sketches) are encouraged and you must refer to at least three readings,
from this class or elsewhere, in your essay. You must have a strong central argument, reflected in
your title, your introduction and your conclusion.
The essay will be assessed on:
• Clarity. You present a strong argument and express a convincing opinion on planning
• Linking to readings, fieldwork, and presentatons: your ability to link in (or contrast) your opinions
with the scholarly (readings) and practical (planning report) literature, the fieldwork (online
through google), and class presentations.
• Analysis rather than a mere description: what is good and bad about these places? How could
planners do better? The detail is MUCH better than trying to cover everything.
The essay (1,300 words or about 3 single-spaced pages, excluding references) will be based on your