CREP 506/ARCH 431 Urban Land Use Planning
Professor Campo, Spring 2020
Project 1 – A Suburb in the Region: Urban Growth in a Metropolitan Context
During the first part of the course we are attempting to understand the geography, history and
economics of U.S. metropolitan regions, and the agents that have created distinct patterns of
distributed land use. This project asks you to consider a Baltimore suburb and apply your
growing understanding of metropolitan dynamics in written and graphic analyses that explore the
form and uses of your suburb and identify the forces that are most responsible for its
development. It requires you to map and analyze the suburb within the context of its location in
the region and within historic patterns of local and national suburban growth. Your analysis
should draw upon your required and suggested course readings supplemented by additional
scholarly literature, planning documents, archival materials, demographic and or real property
data (from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources), and your own modest field study.
You may select a suburb for study, with the following caveats: it must be an area outside of the
boundaries of the cities of Baltimore; it should not be the place where you live or work, or the
subject of a professional or studio project or assignment from another previous or current course;
and no two students may select the same suburb. Additionally, it should be a place that you will
be able to visit and move around once you are there (having access to a car is ideal but you can
also do this via transit). All suburbs for study must be approved by me (selections will be
assigned on a first-come, first-served basis – please email me your selection along with an
alternative as soon as possible). I am happy to assist with selections and can assign a suburb if
you ask. Appropriate places for study include Catonsville, Ellicott City, Jessup, Elkridge,
Ferndale, Brooklyn Park, Essex, Middle River, Glen Burnie, Greenbelt, Bowie, Odenton,
Pasadena, Dundalk, Edgemere, White Marsh, Perry Hall, Bel Air, Timonium, Cockeysville,
Whitehall, Hunt Valley, Manchester, Reiserstown, Eldersberg, Mt. Airy, Sykesville,
Randallstown, Owings Mills, Westminster and Columbia.
A. Local Land Use Map and project presentation (approximately 25% of your project grade)
Required format of map: PDF and hard copy; minimum dimensions: 17” by 24” – also embed no
less than three representative images from your field experience in your poster.
Presentation: Well-rehearsed oral presentation (five minutes) of your map and content of your
paper with optional slideshow. If you opt to supplement your map with slides, include PDF of
your presentation (three to six slides per page) as part of your electronic and hard copy
Land use map instructions
Survey and create a land use map of your selected suburb that strategically shows major land
uses, prominent geographic features and infrastructure, and (potentially) other forces which have
played a role in the geographic pattern of the area. The scale of your map should be small
enough to capture adjacent suburbs or parts of the city itself. Include a context map to show your
regional location and relationship to the city of Baltimore. Use and interpret on-line maps and
satellite imagery to guide your field visit and cartography. One to two afternoons (totaling three
to four hours) in the field will likely be enough to understand major land use patterns and
confirm data from on-line sources.
There are many ways to create your map but I suggest using on-line maps or satellite imagery to
create a base for your own graphic analysis created with software such as Adobe Illustrator and
Photoshop, PowerPoint or similar (convert the final map into PDF format of modest file size –
12 MB maximum). Alternatively, you can use printed maps and overlay your own layers in
tracing paper, all of which can be assembled, scanned and printed in its final form.
In mapping the land uses of your suburb, it may not be necessary or desirable to show the use
every individual parcel or building. Rather, show the major patterns by block or groups of
blocks. Your map should display uses that include single-family residential, apartments or multifamily residential, retail, office, institutional, industrial and manufacturing, transportation
systems; and parks, open space, natural preserves and agricultural lands. How you display these
land use patterns and to what level of detail is largely up to you, but be clear, creative and bold.
Use the American Planning Association’s Land-Based Classification Standards (LBCS) color
codes for “functions.” In addition to the land uses, your map should include major landmarks,
nodes, neighborhoods or districts and other prominent features, such as highways, infrastructure,
institutions and natural features. Please label these features as well as all prominent streets. Feel
free to browse the APA website and planning publications/sites to generate ideas about how best
to represent land use patterns and display important features.
B. Paper (approximately 75% of your project grade)
Minimum length: 1,500 words (approximately six pages, double-spaced)
Final Submission: Word or PDF and hard copy
Required Format: A well-structured and lively essay (this is not a dry consultant’s report) with
proper referencing (Chicago Manual of Style).
Required within the body of your text: Application of concepts from and explicit reference to
two or more required or suggested course readings.
Graphics: None are required other than the map (see above) but you may want to include a few
representative photographs to provide a sense of the development or conditions you are
writing about; historic photos may be similarly employed. If you choose to include tables,
photos or other maps be sure that they are clearly and consistently labeled and referred to in
the body of your text.
The purpose of your paper is to describe the current land use patterns in your selected suburb and
explain how and why it developed in that way (i.e. describe its development history), and how
these patterns might change in the future. Here is an outline to guide you:
I. Introduction/thesis – The main idea explored by the paper (what is your paper about?) and
how you conducted your study? Also include other pertinent background information that
reader should know up front.
CREP 506/ARCH 431 Project 1 Spring 2020
II. Present land use patterns, features and analysis – Provide a current “snapshot” of your
chosen suburb. Include a description of the major land uses and their locations, geographic
features, infrastructure systems and political boundaries (generated from your map). Where
present, note the location of notable features such as government or civic centers, school and
corporate campuses, military bases, and tourist areas. Additionally, note political
classification – is your suburb an incorporated town or city (i.e. does it have its own
government?) or an unincorporated part of a county (no government); note its school district.
Include basic demographics (population, race/ethnicity/foreign born percentages, income,
educational attainment, etc.) Where appropriate include comparative indicators (e.g.
“Cedartown had a mean household income of $41,500 in 2015, compared to $44,000 for the
county, state, and or region). Attempt to show trends (e.g. is population going up or down
over time; is the population becoming more diverse or better educated?). Also include
analysis of real property values including how much does a single-family home cost and how
does it compare to its county, region and or state? And finally, something about current
development in the suburb – how many housing permits have been issued in recent years and
recent or in the works commercial square footage? This is not an exhaustive demographic
and real property analysis and you are not required to include all of these indicators but do
use as much material as you feel is appropriate to clearly convey the social characteristics of
the area and how they relate to land use and infrastructure development.
III. Development History – Describe the history of your suburb from rural or undeveloped
land to urban or suburban place in the present day. Use historic and archival sources, and
government or planning documents (no on-line encyclopedias or tertiary sources such as
Wikipedia). Draw upon course readings to analyze and understand the development of your
area. Do not simply state a series of historical facts – also explain why development has
occurred (e.g. “From 1965 to 1968, developer X built Shady Grove subdivision on farmland
in the northwest corner of Cedarville to take advantage of the Interstate Highway completed
in 1966.”). Speculate as necessary drawing from the concepts discussed in the readings and
lectures. Connect your discussion to larger historic trends, legislation, governmental
initiatives and programs pertinent to growth of American suburbs – as discussed in readings
and in class (e.g. “The growth of Cedarville took off shortly after the introduction of the
National Housing Act of 1949, which allowed encouraged suburban development by…”).
IV. Future Forecast – This final section represents a synthesis and analysis of the information
you provided in previous sections and applies the concepts discussed in the course literature
in forecasting your suburb’s future (for the next twenty to thirty years). What are the most
important urban development, demographic and economic trends in this suburb and how will
they shape it years into the future? Will your suburb grow, shrink, change demographically,
become more or less prosperous and what types of development might occur? Why?
Consider both regional trends (e.g. patterns of population gains or losses in the suburb or
county, economic shifts within the region, employer relocations, and proposed infrastructure
improvements such as new transit or highway enlargements); and national/global trends (e.g.
broad demographic shifts, changes in lifestyle, emerging technologies, long term
transportation improvements or fuel costs, changes in the federal tax structure, mortgage
markets trends, growing awareness of sustainability and resiliency). Where you lack hard
evidence to support your claims you may speculate and draw inferences based on the
CREP 506/ARCH 431 Project 1 Spring 2020
concepts discussed in the literature. Make explicit reference to regional typology systems
(Myron Orfield’s community classifications or similar Brookings system); but use it as a
starting point to forecast change (e.g. Cedartown is an ‘At Risk – Older’ suburb but given its
desirable housing stock and strategic location near transportation and downtown, it is likely
to experience growth and gentrification over the coming decades….”). You are also free to
create modified classifications or add details to existing categories provided you explain
them. Also draw upon other concepts that we have discussed in the course (and readings)
including gentrification, rapid growth, sprawl, immigrant influxes, out-migration, decline,
deindustrialization and loss of major employers, institutionalized discrimination, speculative
bubbles, major demographic change, generational lifestyle shifts and other cultural trends.
Provide as much reasoning as you can to support your claims.
Project 1 poster pinup and presentations: 3/3
Final submission due: 3/6
CREP 506/ARCH 431 Project 1 Spring 2020
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