PA 776: Environmental Policy will be taught Spring 2015


PA 776 (Environmental Policy) Course Description: This course offers an introduction to environmental policy in the United States – a topic that is becoming a mainstream element of the planning and administrative realm. It is designed to examine environmental problems as inter-disciplinary, interconnected issues anchored in their fundamental ecological, physical, and natural resource components, but inextricably linked to broader social, political, and economic factors and context. It will introduce you to national policies that have been designed and implemented to address these environmental problems, as well as state and regional/local extensions of these regulations, and/or particular programs developed independently of national policies. Our exploration and discussion of environmental policy will center on the need to adopt inter-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder approaches to effective policy design.

In order to understand this broader context, we will briefly examine the history of environmental policy in the United States, key theories underlying policy development, and the structure and components of pre-eminent national policies themselves. We will use case studies of specific policy processes and decisions to compare and contrast how environmental policy design has been more or less effective in various arenas, and why. We will analyze the specific environmental policy programs and tools (national, state, and local) that have been used in these cases, as a way to consider policy alternatives and options for the future. By the end of the course, students will have a broad view of environmental policy and politics in the United States, and will be able to apply this knowledge to practices and programs in the work arena.

The course is beneficial to graduate students across a range of planning arenas, such as city and regional policy and planning, geography, business, environmental science, and public health, to mention a few. It is also a strong elective for advanced undergraduates in environmental studies and urban studies. The course has been developed with the assumption that students have no prior academic exposure to U.S. environmental policy.

PA 776 is an elective for all MPA students, and is required for those pursuing the environmental administration elective emphasis.

Dr. Juliet Lamont the professor for this course (A.B. Harvard University; M.S., Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley), is an environmental sustainability expert, specializing in ecosystem-based strategies for environmental planning, management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. She has worked across the full spectrum of private, government, non-profit, and academic sectors through her own consulting practice (Creekcats Environmental Partners), as well as lecturing on sustainable urban development topics at San Francisco State University for a number of years, in addition to her previous teaching experience at U.C. Berkeley. Her courses blend her passion for the environment with practical applications, tools, and extensive theoretical knowledge, with the goal of providing students with the ability to analyze and tackle environmental problems both creatively and effectively. Please e-mail her with any questions, at:


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