Wicked Urban Problems in the News

Completing the Essay
Search the news for articles addressing urban issues that fit the four criteria for “wicked” problems discussed
in class. Your task for this assignment is to identify a real-life example that illustrates the political, and often
controversial, nature of the planning process. The example you find can be local or in another city, can relate
to any of the functional areas of planning (e.g. transportation, housing, economic development,
environmental planning, etc.), and may be project-specific or focused on larger comprehensive planning
activities. Pick a case study (NOT the South Mountain Freeway discussed in class) for which you can find
adequate details and information about the urban problem being addressed. You must find a minimum of
three sources of information about your case study. All sources must be properly cited and referenced.
Write an essay that clearly addresses the following for the wicked problem you identified:
–Explain the background of the urban planning problem being addressed
–Discuss why the problem is a “wicked” one:
–Why is the problem itself difficult to define?
–Why are the causes of the problem uncertain?
–Why is there no obvious solution?
–How is the problem linked to other problems?
–Discuss the public sector and private sector stakeholders involved, and how conflicting values contribute to
the “wicked” nature of the problem

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