Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: URSI Logo      URBS 4/502—Urban Analysis 

Term:  Spring, 2012 

Instructor: Tony Filipovitch, 106 Morris Hall, 507-389-5035, 507-388-2264 (home)

Office Hours:  My office hours are posted here.  I am available in my office at those times (or other times by appointment).  I also check my e-mail daily (usually several times during the day), and have an answering machine on both my home and office phone.  There is no reason to flounder around, unsure of what “he wants” or confused about what you are doing; and even if everything is going fine with the coursework, there is more to learning than completing the assignments.  I encourage you to visit me, in person or at a distance by phone or e-mail, many times during the course.


DANDEKAR, HC.  2004.  The Planner’s Use of Information, 2nd Ed.  Chicago:  APA Press.


This course is designed to develop the skills needed to gather, analyze, and present information for resolving applied problems in local government and community settings. 

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Communicate orally (using powerpoint & graphics) and in writing (memos, issue papers, research reports, and case studies).
  2. Solve practical problems using (and modifying) spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel is the department standard).
  3. Gather and organize data (using focus groups, sampling frames, surveys & questionnaires, and benchmarking)
  4. Analyze data using statistical tools (descriptive, nonparametric, and parametric)
  5. Frame a question and arrive at a solution using nonstatistical quantitative tools (forecasting, benefit/cost, and GIS)

Course Calendar:







Introduction to course & conventions used in course

Human Subjects Research; Oral (powerpoint) & Written Communication (memo, issue paper, research report); Analysis using Excel & Graphics 

Dandekar, Ch. 8, 9 & 10;


Gathering Data




Database Design & Sampling

Dandekar, Ch. 3



The Design of Experiments & Descriptive statistics

Dandekar, Ch. 4



Focus groups & Surveys

Dandekar, Ch. 2



Nonparametric statistics (chi-square, t-test)




Parametric statistics (correlation, regression, ANOVA, Logit)



Policy & Decision Analysis




Frame Analysis

Dandekar, Chs. 5,6 & 11



Benefit/Cost Analysis & Fiscal Impact Assessment (FIT)



Break Week!


PERT/Critical Path Method



Planning Tools



Population Forecasting




Land Use Forecasting




Transportation Estimation



Management Tools



Tax Increment Financing




Real Estate Pro Forma




Labor Negotiation Analysis




Finals Week



This is primarily a case-study class. You are expected to do the reading assigned from the text and linked to the course calendar, and to work practical problems based on them.  Of course, you should feel free to ask me questions, and I would recommend that you find a partner or two in the course and work as a study group.

Written Assignments

Students will submit a memo or powerpoint for each unit, applying the tool to a concrete problem and interpreting the application of that topic. The memos should follow the format described in “Writing Conventions” (first week’s readings). The body of the memo should be 1-2 pages, although there may be attachments. Powerpoints should be a minimum of 5 slides, and should include graphic elements.  Since a powerpoint is a graphic presentation (and you will not be able to actually make your presentation to the instructor), you should also include in Word format the script that accompanies the powerpoint slides. Memos and powerpoints should be sent to the instructor on e-mail.

Student Expectations

  • Graduate students will be held to a higher level of interpretation in their memos & powerpoints, with the expectation that they will frame their analysis using (and referencing) the relevant literature in the field.
  • There are 17 tools presented in this course.  Students are expected to have at least a “back of the envelope” understanding of each of them.  Graduate students will submit applied analysis memos/powerpoints for 10 of the tools; undergraduate students will choose 7 of the 17.  At least one tool must be chosen from each of the 4 major subdivisions of the course.
  • While some “canned” problems will be provided for each tool, students are encouraged to develop data from online or published sources so they can examine problems/issues that are particularly suited to their own interests.

Course Expectations:


                                                Undergrad       Grad

Skills memos (@ 10 pts.)                    70          100


The final grade may be based on a curve, but students can expect an A if they achieve at least 90%, a B with 80%, etc.

Other Matters:

Extra Credit: In general, I do not encourage extra credit in this class. I would rather that you put the extra effort into your regular assignments.

All assignments are due at 6PM on the assigned date.  Partial credit may be given for assignments that are less than one week late, unless other arrangements have been made in advance.

Written reports are expected to be free of grammatical, spelling, and content errors.  They should be submitted in typewritten, standard formats (APA, MLA, URSI Style Sheets).  You must familiarize yourself with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.  We encourage you to draw on the ideas of others—but you must also identify when you do so (you gain “brownie points” for citing the work of others!).  Plagiarism is a serious breach of academic behavior and will result in an F for the course.

I will help you in whatever manner humanly possible.  However, once the semester is over, there is not a great deal I can do.  If there is something that you don’t understand, are having problems with, or need help on, please get in touch with me as early as possible.

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities.  If you area student with a documented disability, please contact us as early in the semester as possible to discuss the necessary accommodations, and/or contact the Disability Services Office at 507-389-2825 (V) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY).




Each unit includes its own bibliography.  The following is a list of general references about the use of quantitative data (some are classics), and might be useful for several of the units:


ADAMS, SV et alii.  (2001)  Statistics: Cliff's Quick Review.  NY:  Wiley Publishing, Inc.

ALONSO, W. (1964) "The historic and structural theories of urban form: Their implications for urban renewal," Land Economics, 40, 227-231.

APPLEBAUM, W. (1952) "A technique for constructing a population and urban land-use map," Economic Geography, 28, 240-243.

ARROW, K., et alii (n.d.) Urban Processes. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.

ATKIN, R.H., J. JOHNSON & V. MANCINI (1971) "An analysis of urban structure using concepts of algebraic topology," Urban Studies 8(3): 221-242

CADWALLADER, M. (1996) Urban Geography: An Analytical Approach. NY: Prentice Hall.

CARTWRIGHT, T.J. (1993) Modeling the World in a Spreadsheet. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

CHAMBERS, J.C., S.K. MULLICK, & D.D. SMITH (1975) "How to choose the right forecasting technique," On Management. NY: Harper & Row.

CHAPIN, F.S. (1968) "Activity Systems and urban structure: A working schema," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 34, 11-18.

CHAPIN, F.S. & R.K. BRAIL. (1969) "Human activity systems in the metropolitan United States," Environment and Behavior, 1, 107-130.

COLEMAN, J. (1973) The Mathematics of Collective Action. Chicago: Aldine.

FARRAH, M. (1969) Neighborhood Analyses. Trenton, NJ: Chandler-Davis Pubs.

FILIPOVITCH, A.J. (1987) Urban Analytical Tools. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

FORRESTER, J.W. (1969) Urban Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

GOLDBERG, M.A. (1972) "An evaluation of the interaction between urban transport and land use systems," Land Economics, 48, 338-346.

GORDON, S.I. & R.F. ANDERSON (1989) Microcomputer Applications in City Planning and Management. New York: Praeger.

HAUSER, P.M. (1965) Handbook for Social Research in Urban Areas. Paris: UNESCO.

ISAACS, R.R. (1963) "The neighborhood theory: An analysis of its adequacy," Sociometry 26 (2), 230-246.

KLOSTERMAN, R.E. (1994) "An introduction to the literature on large-scale urban models," Journal of the American Planning Association, 60(1), 41-44.

KLOSTERMAN, R.E., R.K. BRAIL & E.G. BOSSARD (1993) Spreadsheet Models for Urban and Regional Analysis. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research.

MARCH, L. & P. STEADMAN (1971)  The Geometry of Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

MEYERS, D. (1988) "Building knowledge about quality of life for urban planning," Journal of the American Planning Association, 54 347-358.

NELSON, H.J. (1955) "A service classification of American cities," Economic Geography, 31, 189-210.

OTTENSMANN, J.R. (1985) BASIC Microcomputer programs for urban analysis and planning. NY: Chapman & Hall.

PUTMAN, S.H. (1972) "Intraurban employment forecasting models: A review and a suggested new model construct," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 38, 216-230.

SHEVKY, E. (1955) Social Area Analysis. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

SIMPSON, B.J. (1985) Quantitative Methods for Planning and Urban Studies. Hampshire, England: Gower Publishing Co.

SWANSON, C.V. & R.J. WALDMANN (1970) "A simulation model of economic growth dynamics," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 36, 314-322.


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© 2006 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 18 August 2011