Fall 2019 - 59222 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2019 - 59222 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Applied Strategies and Policies for Economic Development

Course Description

In the United States, our cities and metropolitan regions are also the powerhouses that drive our national economy. Nearly 85 percent of Americans live and work in them and they produce 90 percent of our economic output. They are our research and innovation hubs, our centers of competitiveness and creativity. As rife with housing unaffordability and economic inequality as they are, they are the places where social mobility is highest. Simply put: as our urban communities have become coveted destinations to live and work, they have developed a fierce competition for talent, requiring data-driven economic development strategies and policies to maintain their competitiveness and build greater inclusive prosperity.

This will course will examine the evolution in applied practice of urban and economic development policies, strategies, programs, and initiatives in cities. Specifically, the course will provide participants with a hands-on understanding of forces affecting economic development strategies, information on successful and unsuccessful approaches, and an opportunity to engage in a critical analysis of current thinking in urban and rural economic development


Communities must create an ecosystem that develops new ideas and helps to foster cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific, and artistic creativity. The goal of this course is to help you master the fundamental practices of economic development that are necessary for building stronger such communities.

Learning Objectives

Upon successfully completing this course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Identify why cities and communities are the drivers of economic growth and prosperity and the practices and polices needed for furthering development;
  • Catalog the critical assets, cluster traits, functions and public policies that make a community (region, city, neighborhood) a viable place for enterprise formation and growth;
  • Develop a framework for evaluating community competitive advantages and the effectiveness of economic development tools, such as incentives, policies, grant programs and partnerships;
  • Utilize economic development research methods – cluster analysis, workforce projections and community benchmarking – to develop a data-drive economic development strategy plan;
  • Outline different models for partnership development and how they can be utilized to solve urban and rural development challenges;
  • Uncover best practices for driving investment into distressed communities and rural areas; and
  • Assemble the practices and strategies for leveraging the resources and scale of anchor institutions, such as universities, medical institutions and large-scale real estate developments, to further development

Student Evaluation

The following scale will be utilized to determine grades for the course:

  • [5 percent; 6 activities * 1 point a piece; opportunity 1 point extra credit]
  • Thinking Points [5 percent]
  • Site Selection Memo [25% of grade]
  • Economic Development Blueprint Project [60% of grade]:
    • Community Benchmarking [10% of grade]
    • Clusters of Competitiveness, Innovation and Human Capital [10% of grade]
    • Quality of Place, Real Estate and Infrastructure [10% of grade]
    • Executive Memo and Final Presentation [35% of grade]
Class Schedule: 
M 6:00PM to 9:00PM
SRH 3.314/3.355