USP 100: Introduction to Urban Planning Spring 2017 ______________________________________________________________________________________
Assignment 4: Policy Memo Due: May 10, 2017 Value: 35 points An important skill for professionals in all fields is the ability to concisely summarize complex issues. Urban planners, in particular, are frequently required to conduct research on proposed new policies and/or evaluate lengthy policy reports and present recommendations to their colleagues, supervisors, and/or other decision-makers. After these tasks have been completed, planners are often asked to present their findings in a clear, concise, and short (1-2 page) memorandum. For this assignment, you are required to thoroughly read a policy document and then prepare a memorandum based on hypothetical. You will have your choice of two documents. Select ONE of the following documents and then respond to its hypothetical:
1) High Speed Rail: International Lessons for US Policy Makers (2011) published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and written by Petra Todorovich, Daniel Schned, and Robert Lane. The report is available for free at the following link: https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/high-speed-rail-full_0.pdf.
2) The State of the Nation’s Housing, 2016 published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The report is available for free at the following link: http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/jchs_2016_state_of_the_nations_ housing_lowres.pdf.
1. High Speed Rail Hypothetical You work for a nonprofit organization (SANTRANS) in San Diego that does transportation planning and advocacy with a focus on providing equitable access for all San Diegans to all forms of transportation. SANTRANS has been invited by Governor Jerry Brown to join a statewide advisory group of nonprofit organizations tasked with evaluating the feasibility of developing a high speed rail line between San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area. Your supervisor, Mirle Bussell (Executive Director of SANTRANS), will be flying up to Sacramento to meet with the advisory committee. In preparation for the meeting, she has been asked to read the Lincoln Institute’s report, High Speed Rail: International Lessons for US Policy Makers. This document provides an overview of high speed rail projects in other parts of the world and offers recommendations for U.S. policy makers. Your supervisor has asked for your assistance in preparing for the meeting. She would like you to prepare a two-page memo that succinctly summarizes the report’s key findings and recommendations. She values your opinions and wants to know your conclusions about the feasibility and potential of developing a high speed rail line between San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has asked for a summary of the issues, identification of the key challenges and opportunities, evaluation of the challenges and opportunities, and identification of the most promising recommendations. Your memo should include the following: 1) Opening Segment/Statement of Topic: This should include the purpose of the memo and a brief overview of what the memo will contain. You should be explicit: “The purpose of this memo is to. . .” It should also contain a policy statement. Take a position on the issue – what do you think
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