Course Syllabus


Basic course information

Spring 2021 academic term | 6 credits
Letter grading scheme
No pre-requisites


Mr. W. Thomas Hawkins, JD, AICP 352-377-3141 

Dr. Laurel Harbin, PhD, AICP, LEED-AP 850-321-1164

Office Hours

Virtual office hours will be established after reviewing student and instructor schedule at the
beginning of the course.

Required Text

There are no required textbooks for this course. Required readings are provided by the instructors on the Canvas course site or through the UF Libraries. Students are also required to review additional resources specific to the planning project, which may include applicable policy and land development codes, relevant planning studies, and other supporting materials available online.

Course Description

The Urban Planning Project encompasses city-wide comprehensive planning examining the
interaction of urban and social systems cast in scenarios of future growth and development.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

While there are no prerequisites for this course, students should take it after they have taken at least one full semester of coursework in urban and regional planning. Experience in data collection and analysis, technical writing, visualization and modeling, and collaboration are applicable.

Purpose of Course

The purpose of this course is for students to complete an urban planning project. Thus, this course will focus on doing planning rather than learning about doing planning. This course will be run as a workshop with students actively involved in developing the agenda and the products for the course. The instructors will act as the project managers on this planning project and the students will be the project team. Students will participate in making decisions as a group on the roles taken in the group. The instructors will provide a basic structure and a set of requirements for each of the assignments, which will require some combination of written, visual, and oral presentations. The class meeting times will be used for sharing information and for members to coordinate activities, work on aspects of the project, and review progress.

Course Goals and/or Objectives

This course familiarizes the students with planning practice, particularly field work and research,
working with community stakeholders, and assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative data in 
order to make recommendations. By the end of this course, students will demonstrate their
knowledge in collecting and assessing a range of data, thinking spatially, and communicating their
recommendations both verbally and in writing. In doing so they will strengthen the following skills
that will be important in professional practice: (1) critical thinking; (2) presentation (verbal
communication); (3) evaluation and criticism; (4) argumentation; and (5) written communication

How This Course Relates to the Student Learning Outcomes in the Department of urban and regional planning

As a required course in the graduate program, Urban Planning Project allows students to apply
knowledge and skills in the field, typically with existing projects and relates to all three departmental student learning outcomes. These are:
• Demonstrate an understanding of human settlement, historical and contemporary practice, and
policy and processes relevant to urban and regional planning concepts and theories.
• Demonstrate oral, written, and critical thinking skills required of master’s students within their
area of specialization.
• Display ethical behaviors, cultural sensitivity, teamwork, professional conduct and



Attendance Policy

Attendance in the online course format is assessed through participation. Students will maintain a
record of hours worked on specific activities related to the course and planning project (time sheet)
that will be submitted for a participation grade. Attendance in virtual synchronous class meetings
with instructors and/or group members will be required on occasion. Students are also required to
utilize e-learning course tools such as conferences, discussions, email, and other forms of
communication to facilitate collaboration on group assignments. In group assignments in which all
team members get the same grade for the deliverable, students who do not participate fully will
have points removed from their participation grade for that assignment. See class participation
grading rubric for additional information. 

Make-up Policy

Consistent with practices in the planning profession, deliverables are due at the times specified in
the course calendar. With the exception of technical difficulties with Canvas, Computer problems
that arise during submission will not be accepted as an excuse for late work.

If you encounter a technical obstacle with Canvas, please contact the UF Help Desk and obtain a
ticket number. Email your instructor immediately of the issue and include your ticket number.
Review the “Getting Help” section below for more information. The course instructors reserve the
right to accept or reject late work accompanied by a UF Help Desk ticket number based on
individual circumstances. 

Course Technology

Students are required to have access to a computer and consistently reliable internet access for the
duration of the course. The types of software used for the project and final presentation will vary
depending upon student capabilities. Typical software applications used for the Urban Planning
Project include Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, VoiceThread, Sketchup,
Photoshop, GIMP, Google Earth, and ArcGIS.

Many software applications are available to UF students at UF Apps: For assistance with UF Apps, contact the UF Computing Help Desk. 



Component Weight

During the semester, you will earn credit for course components based on the rubric provided for
each component. 

Component Weight towards final score
Unit 1 Team Project 20%
Unit 2 Team Project 10%
Unit 3 Team Presentation 20%
Unit 4 Final Plan Document 20%
Unit 4 Final Presentation 10%
Participation (Timesheets and module assignments) 20%

Grading Scale

You will be assigned a letter grade for this course based on your final score. For more information on the grading scale, see: 

Letter Grade Grade points





≥90% and <94%



≥87% and <90%



≥84% and <87%



≥80% and <84%



≥77% and <80%



≥74% and <77%



≥70% and <74%



≥67% and <70%



≥64% and <67%



≥60% and <64%






This general course schedule represents the instructors’ current plans and objectives. As we go
through the semester, those plans may need to change to enhance the class learning opportunity.
Such changes, communicated clearly, are not unusual and should be expected.

This course is divided into four units. Each unit is organized into modules focused on a particular component of the Urban Planning Project. Modules may contain instructional components, required readings, and individual assignments, such as quizzes.

During the first unit, students gather and review a variety of written information related to the assigned area of study (such as planning documents, regulations, etc.). Students work in teams to analyze specific physical and social characteristics of the site and neighborhood for the assigned project area and document the existing conditions in the area in written and graphic form. This information will be presented to the class and compiled into a comprehensive report that will serve as the primary deliverable for Unit 1.

During the second unit, students draw from information gleaned during the team research projects to develop a list of goals and objectives for the project area that will serve as the foundation of an area plan that will be produced by the class as a whole, with each team contributing content in assigned areas of study.

During the third unit, students will work in teams to develop comprehensive planning strategies that will constitute the recommendations and requirements of the area plan.

During the fourth unit, students will produce a final deliverable (area plan) that incorporates the findings and recommendations of the teams from units 1 through 3. The final deliverable will be completed as a class, and will include a presentation and plan document demonstrating knowledge of applicable policies and codes, understanding of planning methods and theories, and creative problem solving to meet specific planning objectives within the confines of real-world constraints and challenges.

This course also reinforces students’ development of verbal, written, and visual communication
skills. Each student will make presentations to members of the class and invited guests who will
assist in interpreting the meaning of the data and the understanding of the conceptual designs.
While the instructors recognize that not all of the students are well skilled in visual representation,
we will encourage you to try, and allow you to emphasize your other skills throughout the course.

Each student will be asked to exercise their critical problem-solving skills and creativity throughout
the course in order to solve the problems. Students will need to challenge the assumptions of what
can and cannot be accomplished in their selected areas, and they need to think broadly and
creatively about how to solve some the challenges in their area.

Finally, students will learn how to work in groups. Throughout the semester, students will need to
organize their activities in the course to take advantage of the existing skills of team members to
accomplish the agreed upon goal. 

Unit 1: Introduction
Module 1A: The Planning Process
Module 1B: Neighborhood History
Module 1C: Site Analysis
Module 1D: Land Use and Zoning
Module 1E: Stakeholders
Unit 1 Deliverable: Team Project - Background Information


Unit 2: Plan Making
Module 2A: Goals and Objectives
Modules 2B: Livable Communities
Unit 2 Deliverable: Team Project - Draft Objectives


Unit 3: Planning Strategies
Module 3A: Visualization Methods
Team Meetings with Instructor(s) Scheduled as Needed
Unit 3 Deliverable: Team Presentation - Planning Strategies


Unit 4: Planning Documents and Presentation
Module 4: Professional Presentation
Unit 4 Deliverable: Final Plan Document
Unit 4 Deliverable: Final Presentation

Additional Course Information
The Canvas site for this course contains additional information, including assignment descriptions and details on how the instructor will score individual assignments. 



Excused absences must be consistent with university policies in the Graduate Catalog and require
appropriate documentation. Additional information can be found here.

More information on UF grading policy may be found here

Students requiring accommodations
Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability
Resource Center (352-392-8565) by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered,
students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when
requesting accommodation. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as
possible in the semester. 

Netiquette: Communication courtesy
All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages,
threaded discussions and chats. 

Course Evaluation
Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction
in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give
feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available online. Students will be notified when
the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via this link. Summaries of course
evaluation results are available to students here.  

University Honesty Policy
UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of
Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and
integrity by abiding by the Honor Code.” On all work submitted for credit by students at the
University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class. 

Software Use
All faculty, staff, and students of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. 

Student Privacy
Federal laws protect your privacy with regards to grades earned in courses and on individual
assignments. More information is available here

Campus Resources

Health and Wellness
• The Counseling and Wellness Center provides a variety of services, including mental health
counseling. You can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center by telephone at 352-392-1575.
• U Matter, We Care. If you or a friend is in distress, please contact or 352-392-1575 so that a team member can reach out to you.
• You can contact the University Police Department at 352-392-1111 (or 911 in case of
• Sexual Assault Recovery Services. You can contact the Student Health Care Center at

Academic Resources
E-learning technical support, 352-392-4357 (select option 2) or,
provides help with Canvas.
• The Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 352-392-1601, provides career assistance and
Library Support provides various ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or
finding resources.
• The Teaching Center, Broward Hall, 352-392-2010 or 352-392-6420, provides help with general
study skills and tutoring.
• The Writing Studio, 302 Tigert Hall, 352-846-1138, provides help brainstorming, formatting, and
writing papers.
• Comment through On-Line Students Complaints.