URBS 609--Applied Quantitative Analysis

Term:  Spring, 2006


Instructor:  Tony Filipovitch, 106 Morris Hall, (507)389-5035, TONY@MnSU.edu


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.  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. 


I assume that you have, through coursework or practical experience, the equivalent of an undergraduate methods course--research methods and basic statistics. These courses teach the elements of theory construction, experimental design, data development and display, and statistics.  These topics are reviewed in the section on Research Design, but you might find it tough going if this is your first time around them.  My teaching style is based on an "adult-centered" model which assumes that you are active participants, each responsible for your own learning, and I am a facilitator and resource who helps you advance your project. My goal for myself as a teacher is to "take you someplace you would never before have gone alone."

Instructional Management System & Communication Protocols: 

This is an online course.  This means:

·        You must at least have an e-mail account and know how to use it, and have access to the Internet, including enough memory to handle graphics and large databases (the speed of your connection and the clock-time of your machine is up to you, and your patience), and the software necessary to work the course modules.

·        It also means you must be more self-directed and disciplined in pursuing your education than would be the case for a traditional class:  you will be responsible for deciding when you will work on the material, you will be responsible for asking for the help you need and making sure you get it early enough to complete your assignments, and it will be your responsibility to submit your work on time and in the format specified (I do accept that sometimes an act of god will prevent you from making a deadline—but it better have been big enough to make the papers).  Computers do occasionally crash; you will be responsible for finding another one and still submitting your work on time.

·        The course will use D2L as the instructional management system.  Discussion lists, grade rosters, and other course management issues will be handled through that site. 

·        The software for this course will be PC-based Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, or compatibles.  I prefer to receive e-mail and course submissions to my e-mail address (not to D2L), and I can only open Microsoft Word or text files (if you are using, say, WordPerfect, make sure to send any files to me in .txt or .rtf format). 

·        I will communicate with you using your official MSU e-mail address; if this is not your preferred e-mail provider, make sure you have set your MSU e-mail account to forward to your preferred address (instructions are available from  the help desk at help@mnsu.edu or 507-389-6654).

·        I generally will reply to e-mails within 48 hours (give me an additional 24 hours over the weekends), unless I have notified the class through D2L or e-mail that I expect to be away from my computer (e.g., when I am attending a national conference).  If you do not hear from me within that time, please resend your question or comment as it may have been lost.

·        The library has a document delivery service, and can send books or other publications that circulate (i.e., no items from the reserve or reference collection) to you if you are an online student.  Information is available at http://www.lib.mnsu.edu/lib/ILL/docdel.html  Remember, it will take some time for items to arrive by mail (and even longer if they have to be ordered from another library), so give yourself enough lead time if you plan to use this service.


This course is designed to provide a survey of applied quantitative analysis for students who are preparing for a professional career in local government or public service.

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

  1. Communicate using electronic mail & the internet, including using these sources to obtain data.
  2. Solve practical problems using (and modifying) spreadsheet & database software.
  3. Present the results of your analysis in tabular and graphic form.
  4. Be able to interpret the results from larger, more complicated quantitative models.
  5. Frame a question and estimate a general solution with only simple analysis.
  6. Frame your analysis from the ethical standpoint of the values of a democratic society (values of community, diversity, equity, effectiveness/productivity, efficiency).
  7. Report the results of your analysis in a professional manner, using a memo format, for an audience of citizens and elected officials.


Course Calendar, Fall 2005:




Discussion Date


The Basics

Before 1/17


Management Tools



Tax Increment Financing



Real Estate Pro Forma



Fiscal Impact Assessment (FIT)



Capital Improvement Programming



Labor Negotiation Analysis



Planning Tools



Population Forecasting



Spatial Distribution & Transportation Estimation



Economic Base Analysis (RIMS II)



Economic Impact Analysis (IMPLAN)



Land Use Forecasting


Policy & Decision Analysis



Frame Analysis



Benefit/Cost Analysis



Decision Analysis



PERT/Critical Path Method



Linear Programming



Research Design



The Logic of Inquiry



The Design of Experiments



Statistics I:  Probability, the Binomial, and Nonparametrics



Statistics II:  Parametric Statistics



Database Design & Sampling



Postlude:  Towards a Calculus of the Social Sciences





This class is taught entirely online (although you are welcome—encouraged, even—to meet with me individually or to form study groups to meet and discuss the sections).  Each class will be devoted to a different topic. Descriptions of each topic are available on the Web (use the hotlinks from the Course Calendar).

The Calendar is divided into 5 sections. 

·        The first section is required for everyone first enrolling in the course.  It covers the basics of communication protocols for the course, mining the Web for data, principles (and practice) for writing memos and incorporating graphics into your work.  As part of this section, you will create a “student profile” page for yourself on the web and share its address with your classmates. 

·        At the end of the first unit (“The Basics”), you will write a contract with me in which you will specify which units you will complete (by what dates) for what total of semester credits.

·        The remaining 4 sections are topical groupings of the units:   Research Design, Policy & Decision Analysis, Management Tools, and Planning Tools.  One semester credit is earned for every five units completed (you do not need to complete all five units from the same group).  Each unit has a week when there will be a discussion board available for exchanging questions and ideas, and a time set aside for an optional live online chat on the unit.  While you are strongly encouraged to keep up with the pace of the class, assignments may be turned in until the last week of the semester. 


For each unit, you will submit a memo applying the tool to a concrete problem and interpreting the application of that topic. The memos should follow the format described in “The Basics.” The body of the memo should be 1-2 pages, although there may be attachments. Memos should be sent to me on e-mail.


There will be no final test. Your grade will be based on your memos. Each memo is worth 10 pts., and one semester credit requires 5 completed units (memos). The final grade will be based on a 90%/80%/... scale.  You may work together, but you must write your memos independently.   A memo may be revised as often as you wish prior to the last week of regular classes; all final revisions are due by the Wednesday of exam week.

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities.  If you area student with a documented disability, please contact me 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 list are 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.




© 2000 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 1January 2006