Scoates Hall 118
Phone: 979-845-7853 (office)

Teaching Assistant: Alexander Abuabara
Scoates Hall 125
: 979-845-7813 (HRRC front desk)

Study of various analytical techniques used in urban and regional decision making; quantitative approaches to analyze and manipulate data; utilization of statistical packages for data, analysis and communication to enhance urban planning modeling.

Topics Covered
The purpose of this course is to familiarize undergraduate planning students with a host of analytic methods and techniques they are likely to encounter and use in various forms of planning departments and organizations.

You should, upon completion of this course, have a working knowledge of:
1) Basic descriptive statistics and graphical techniques
2) Inferential statistic in terms of confidence intervals
3) Basic demographic concepts and methods of estimation, projections, and forecasts
4) Basic concepts and methods for characterizing a local economy
5) Population and economic data gathered by the federal government
6) Use of MS Excel to design tables, calculate statistics, and create graphs
*) Use of QGIS to design basic thematic maps
Although I really want to cover this topic, it is dependent on the progress of the class over the course of the semester. Anyway, you are encouraged to take a GIS class in parallel or in the following semester, where this is covered in-depth. I recommend URPN 325 Intro GIS in Urban Planning. Have in mind that having a sense of spatial distribution of data is of the utmost importance for a planner.

TUESDAY and THURSDAY, 11:10 am—12:25 pm
Location: Student Computing Center 4.102B (SCC 4.102B)
Date: Jan 14, 2019 — May 07, 2019
Schedule Types: Lecture
Credit: 3.000 Credit hours
Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate

Office Hours
Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 pm—2 pm, or by appointment

Syllabus / Class web page
This web page (last update on: 12/14/2018)

URPN majors only or approval of instructor


20 pts — Weekly Assignments (2 pt each, you need to turn in 10 assignments out of 12)
20 pts — Mid-term (2 pts each, 2 required questions and you can choose 8 out of 10 questions to answer)
10 pts — 1/2-way Project Review (includes: a brief community historic background, geo-political information, datasets, draft maps and descriptions)
10 pts — Group Work, evaluated by your co-workers
10 pts — Final Project Handout (2-page paper)
30 pts
— Final Project Presentation (poster + in-person presentation)

Grades will be assigned according to the following scale:
A — 90 - 100 pts
B — 80 - 89 pts
C — 70 - 79 pts
D — 60 - 69 pts
F — inferior work, work not turned in, failure to attend class

(1) Weekly Assignments: You will write two or three paragraphs on the topic of the week, or develop a computer exercise of something taught in class. NOTE THAT: you can use extra assignments to get extra points.

(2) Mid-Term Exam: the exam will be done in class, consisting of 10 multiple choice questions, of which you can choose 8 to do. Plus 2 required written questions. NOTE THAT: the content includes everything given in class until the previous class. AGAIN: you can use the extra questions to get extra points.

(3) 1/2-Way Project Review: This will be a presentation of a maximum of 4 slides, in which you are encouraged to present the datasets you will use, draft maps, print-screen or sketches, and the research question you are pursuing. REMEMBER to save the document in the shared folder. In this way I can follow its development and give you constant feedback! It may help you to be on track!

(4) Group Work: To prepare the community profile beyond the community data you will need the county data. You will team up with the students who are working in the same county. You are encouraged to share knowledge, and to teach one another.

(5) Final Project Handout: This is a document that will accompany the presentation. At the time of the presentation, you will share it with your colleagues and reviewers. If you turn it in by the due date, I will be printing copies. Digital copies are encouraged.

(6) Final Project Presentation: The presenter must deliver the material in a clear and structured manner, well organized and prepared. The presenter must maintain class interest during the entire presentation, and answer questions effectively. The presentation needs to be concise and informative, containing practical examples and visual aids (graphs, charts, pictures, etc.).

(7) Final Project Poster: The community profile poster must follow this layout:
(7.1) Introduction: briefly talk about the city you choose: name, location, some interesting facts / reasons why you chose it.
(7.2) City background information: talk about basic information with facts and data, using content sections such as: geography, history, culture, political, etc.
(7.3) Discussion of: demographic facts, economic factors, and other relevant topics to the region that were developed during the semester.

REMEMBER to save the document you are working in the shared folder. In such way I can follow its development and give you feedback!
NOTE THAT: in class we will discuss how to build a poster using MS Powerpoint, and how to print it in the College of Architecture ITS. LAUP will cover the print costs of one poster per student if printed by the due date, or we can use a screen to visualize the poster. Further instructions in class.

(1) All work is important. In the end you will see how one thing helps build the other. Do all your work with great care. For grading purposes, the way you present your work is as important as the content.
I am here to help you to learn the content and to assist you to develop the best work you can do. The whole purpose of the activities and lectures is the student's learning. But this is a process, and the student needs to engage, participate, and follow the content. Nothing is learned or assimilated overnight. There are always some difficulties, I want to help you overcome them. Always do your best, step by step. If you have questions, let me know. It is never too late but earlier works always better.
(3) By the end of the first week of class you will receive an email with a link for a shared folder. Each student will have a private folder shared with the instructor(s), where the student will save the assignments, mid-term exam, project files, and final exam documents.
(4) Use the topic and your last name to rename the files you are submitting (e.g midterm_abuabara.docx, hw1_abuabara.docx, and so on).
(5) Any difficulty in accessing your school Google account, let me know at the latest until ther early second week of class (by Jan. 25, 2019).
(6) All class materials (including lectures and homework assignments) will be posted here.
7) All class materials are copyrighed and developed for educational purposes. I am glad to share this material with you, but any kind of reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. One of the reasons the class material are being published here is the believe of an open internet that supports education for everyone.

Course material
LECTURE 1 part 1 [Jan 15 and Jan 17]: Statistics intro (epistemology)
LECTURE 1 part 2 [Jan 22 and Jan 24]: Statistics basics (sampling)
LECTURE 2 [Jan 29 and Jan 31]: Descriptive statistics
LECTURE 3 [TBA]: Inferential statistics
LECTURE 4 [TBA]: Probability
LECTURE 5 [TBA]: Sampling distributions
LECTURE 7 [TBA]: Basic population issues
LECTURE 8 [TBA]: Population pyramids
LECTURE 9 [TBA]: ACS, MOEs, and Diversity Index
LECTURE 10 [TBA]: Population estimates and projections
LECTURE 11 [TBA]: Economic analysis
LECTURE 12 [TBA]: Thematic mapping basics

Homework assignments
HW 1 [due Jan 21, 2019]: Writing about urban planning [short essay]
HW 2 [due Jan 28, 2019]: Writing about communities, borders, planning forces [density, population composition, economic activities, etc.]
HW 3 [TBA]: Writing about planning forces and cities scale [what defines a neighborhood, a city, a metropolitan region, etc.]
HW 4 [TBA]: Descriptive statistics exercise
HW 5 [TBA]: Inferential statistics exercise
HW 6 [TBA]: Probability exercise
HW 7 [TBA]: Sampling and CIs exercise
HW 8 [TBA]: Writing about probability and statistics (confidence level)
HW 9 [TBA]: Population pyramids exercise
HW 10 [TBA]: Playing with ACS data
HW 11 [TBA]: Population projections exercise
HW 12 [TBA]: Economic profile exercise

If the student respects the due date, feedback will be given in a couple of days. Late work will be considered for a maximum of half of the possible grade, and feedback is not assured.

Pre-tutorial: Installing Analysis Toolpak in MS Excel
Tutorial 1: Descriptive statistics in MS Excel
Tutorial 2: Histograms in MS Excel
Tutorial 3: Correlation in MS Excel
Tutorial 4: Regression analysis in MS Excel
Tutorial 5: t-Test in MS Excel
Tutorial 6: Population pyramids in MS Excel
Tutorial 7: Obtaining ACS and Census decennial data
Tutorial 8: Obtaining Census TIGER shapefiles
Tutorial 9: Creating population projections
Tutorial 10: Creating economic location quotients and plots
Tutorial 11: Creating posters in MS Powerpoint
Pre-tutorial: Installing QGIS
Tutorial 12: Creating thematic maps in QGIS

Exercises to practice for the mid-term exam

It is the student’s responsibility to be fully acquainted and to comply with the University Student Rules available online at

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities in Room 126 of the Koldus Building, or call 845-1637.

Academic Integrity Statement
“An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.” Students are expected to understand and abide by the Aggie Honor Code presented on the web at

No form of scholastic misconduct will be tolerated. Academic misconduct includes cheating, fabrication, falsification, multiple submissions, plagiarism, complicity, etc. These are more fully defined in the above web site. Violations will be handled in accordance with the Aggie Honor System Process described on the web site.

The handouts used in this course are copyrighted. By “handouts,” I mean all materials generated for this class, which include but at not limited to syllabi, notes, quizzes, exams, in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets. Because these materials are copyrighted, you do not have the right to copy the handouts unless I expressly grant permission.

Cheating on quizzes and exams will not be tolerated. Cheating will be reported and handled in accordance with the Aggie Honor System Process. Some or all examinations will be closed book; “looking at another student's examination or using external aids (for example, books, notes, calculators, conversation with others, or electronic devices)” during these examinations is a violation of Texas A&M Aggie Honor Code, unless specifically allowed in advance by the instructor.

Unless specifically allowed in advance by the instructor, all assignments and homework in this class are expected to be completed based on individual effort. Copying the work of others, including homework, is a violation of Texas A&M Aggie Honor Code.

REMEMBER: do not threaten yourself or classmates. We are aware that there is a lot of expectations on your. If you are having difficulties, come to talk either to the instructor, to the discipline supervisor, or to the department head. We are here to help you learn and have the best chances to succeed!

Tentative Class Calendar
1) Communications will be made with anticipation: announced in class, and updated here
2) Since this schedule is subject to changes, check it out before class
3) Also, leave your email updated with the instructor, and you will be informed by email of any changes as well

Week 1 [Jan 15 and 17]
- Syllabus review

Week 2 [Jan 22 and 24]
- Due homework 1

Week 3 [Jan 29 and 31]
- Due homework 2

Week 4 [Feb 5 and 7]
- Due homework 3

Week 5 [Feb 12 and 14]
- Due homework 4

Week 6 [Feb 19 and 21]
- Due homework 5

Week 7 [Feb 26 and 28]
- Due homework 6
- Review class / Catch-up subjects / Q&A
- Mid-term <<————

Week 8 [Mar 5 and 7]
- Due homework 7

Week 9 [Mar 12 and 14]
- Spring Break

Week 10 [Mar 19 and 21]
- No homework
- You should get started with your final project here <<————

Week 11 [Mar 26 and 28]
- Due homework 8

Week 12 [Apr 2 and 4]
- Due homework 9

Week 13 [Apr 9 and 11]
- Due homework 10

Week 14 [Apr 16 and 18]
- Due homework 11
- 1/2-way project review <<————

Week 15 [Apr 23 and 26]
- Due homework 12
- LECTURE 12 (probable)
- Review (possible)

Week 16 [May 2]
- Presentations <<————

Week 16 [May 7]
- No class / Personally meet those who need (in my office at class plus office hour time)