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Assignment 4. How does Tacoma’s port and tideflats planning exemplify the tensions and challenges of sustainable urban development?

Purpose of this assignment: 

· To confront the conflictsinherent in urban sustainability planning, in addition to the synergies and opportunities;

· To consider ideas of urban metabolismand global flows of energy, as they relate to the city, the region, and our earth and social systems;

· To examine how sustainability relates to economic development (Fitzgerald, Emerald Cities) by focusing on a local, and highly contested issue: port and tideflat area planning. 

1. Review of past assignments:

Over the last six weeks we have gradually built our understanding of sustainability, sustainable urban development, and the history of these concepts in the US and abroad. 

We have:

· Investigated and analyzed definitions of sustainability in the public discourse, online and as represented by a variety of different organizations. We shared these definitions, built a word cloud as a means of identifying key recurring phrases and terms, and reflected on these meanings, what is emphasized and what is missing.

· Read about and considered different conceptual models of sustainability (Rydin), and made a case for which is most helpful, and why. We were introduced to a design-oriented approach to sustainable urban development (Talen), and sought to identify examples of sustainability and sustainable urban development in our own towns, cities, and communities.

· Looked back over the past 150 years of economic development and social activism in the US, to consider the origins of the sustainability movement. We recognized that economic growth has long raised social and environmental concerns for its advocates and proponents in the US and elsewhere; and that sustainability is not necessarily a “new” movement, as much as a continuation of a tradition of stewardship and awareness of the fragile natural and social resources upon which humanity depends.

2. Assignment 4: 

In this assignment we are getting more specific and local about the tradeoffs between economic growth, and social and environmental goals and protections.

You may be aware that there has been controversy recently over the use and development of port/tideflat lands in Tacoma. In this assignment I ask you to read up on this, and consider the tradeoffs inherent in port sub-area planning. 

What is at stake in the creation of a new port sub-area plan?

To help you do this, here is what I want you to do IN ORDER: 

FIRST: read two articles to start, by Campbell about the challenges and conflicts, as opposed to the assumed synergies of sustainable urban development: “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?: Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development” (1996); and by Kennedy, Pincetl, and Bunje about the concept of urban metabolism in urban sustainability: “The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design” (2011). 

1. Your first discussion board (Tuesday week 7) asks you to respond to these readings. Why is a “conflct” frame potentially more helpful, and more controversial, than a “synergy” frame for sustainable urban development? What are the areas of contradiction identified by Campbell? Do you agree that sometimes these simply cannot be resolved? Why/why not?

2. Also on the first discussion board (Tuesday week 7): What are some of the ways that “urban metabolism” is used to characterize big picture processes of urban development? Why do Kennedy et al think this might be useful in the future? Do you agree? Why/ why not?

SECOND: Now, to be even more concrete and detailed, read the chapters entitled “Sustainability as Economic Development,” “Cities and the Green Economy,” and “Building the Energy Efficient City,” from Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Developmentby Joan Fitzgerald

3. Your second discussion board (Thursday week 7) asks you to reflect on these chapters. Why are cities essential sites for connecting sustainability strategies to economic development? What distinguishes linkingstrategies, transformationalstrategies, and leapfroggingstrategies, for Fitzgerald? 

4. Also on the second discussion board, drawing on Fitzgerald: How can cities become more energy efficient? What kinds of policies are being pursued and might be possible? Is there a downside to focusing on buildings as the key source of greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to industry and transportation?

THIRD: Keep these two discussions and their background reading in mind as you begin to explore the links related to port and tideflats sub-area planning in Tacoma. You should be moving forward on this topical reading by the end of week 7, beginning of week 8. Some questions to consider:

What was the controversy that erupted around a proposed methanol plant about? Who were the actors? Why has a proposal for a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant been in the news? What are some of the reasons people support these proposals; why are others staunchly opposed?

What is “port and tideflats sub-area planning”? Who (what agency) leads it? Who else is involved? 

Why was a temporary moratorium on tideflats development proposed recently? What are some of the arguments for/against?

How will sub-area planning proceed? Who will be involved? How will interests be weighed and resolved?

FOURTH: Write a 1500 word essay. In your own words, respond to the prompt: What is at stake in the creation of a new port sub-area plan?

5.Establish a clear thesis in your introductory paragraph. What is most important for the city to consider, from a sustainable urban development perspective, as it establishes land use designations and regulations for its industrial waterfront? Why? 

6. Use the sources we have read for this module (Campbell, Kennedy et al, Fitzgerald) to justify and contextualize your thesis. Build supporting paragraphs using clear topic sentences. Your essay should aim to convince the reader about what is at stake; draw on concepts from the reading to do so.

7. You are not limited to the links and sources provided for discussion of the Tacoma case; if you draw from additional sources of information, they should be referenced and cited (APA format).

8. In terms of formatting, your essay: 

• Is due Thursday of Week 8, by 11:59 pm on CANVAS: Assignment 4. 

• Should be 11-12 point font, double-spaced, with page numbers at bottom.

• You are required to use APA referencing. Go to UWT Library Main Page à Citation tools/Ref Works; and/or Control-Click below for help (this handout is also on CANVAS): 

o APA Style Guide [pdf]

o APA Citation Guide (TLC)

o APA Style Guide to Electronic References [pdf]

• Include a bibliography page. 

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