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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Berkeley Planning Journal is an annual peer-reviewed journal published by graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at the University of California, Berkeley since 1985.

The 20th volume of the Berkeley Planning Journal, originally published in 2007.

Editorial Notes

Editor's Notes

For this milestone issue, we have chosen to exclusively showcase the excellent work of planning students.

Book Reviews

Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Believing it would only impede her own writing, urban theorist Jane Jacobs refused to assist her would-be biographers. As a result, journalist Alice Sparberg Alexiou's Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary, inspired by Jacobs's stands against powerful figures like Robert Moses and commitment to Greenwich Village, is forced to uncover Jacobs's life from her published works. Alexiou situates Jacobs's life in the context of planning and planning history and discusses Jacobs's role in constructing that history.

This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America by Anthony Flint

"In a calorie-conscious word, sprawl beckons like a hot fudge sundae," begins Anthony Flint in This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America, his analysis of the different forces that shape land use patterns in the United States. Although there has been an urban renaissance in the past 20 years, low-density suburban development still remains incredibly popular. People continue to want a suburban lifestyle despite the negative impacts of long commutes on the workday, as well as environmental and travel costs. In this clear, well-written overview of the sprawl debate, Flint reveals the array of voices as well as the imminent importance of these issues as we face population growth, global warming, and development that show no signs of stopping in the twenty-first century.

There Goes the 'Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up by Lance Freeman

One of the challenges in reviewing the work of a prominent author in any field is the tendency to review the author and not the book. This is especially true in the case of Lance Freeman's new book, There Goes the 'Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up, for Freeman holds a very important place in the recent debates about gentrification within the academy. On his own and together with Frank Braconi, Freeman was the author of two important studies in 2004 and 2005 which used quantitative statistical research to demonstrate the authors' claim that there is a tenuous relationship between gentrification and displacement (Freeman and Braconi 2004; Freeman 2005). This research, which garnered national attention (including front page coverage in USA Today), was celebrated by the right and excoriated by the left, and helped thrust Freeman into the spotlight.

Legalizando la Ciudad:Asentamientos Informalesy Procesos de Regularizacion en Tijuana by Tito Alegria and Gerardo Ordonez El Colegio de la Frontera Norte

Galvanized by the arguments of Hernando De Soto (1980 and 2000), the international development community and many academics have pushed land titling as an essential way to help the people of low-income settlements around the world. However, research has demonstrated that the act of defining property rights is problematic: there are often multiple property rights systems operating in any given place (Payne 2002) and the act of defining rights can generate conflict and violence (Alston et al. 1999). Thus, studying the process of land titling is especially important at the present time. Mexico has one of the longest running and most ambitious land regularization programs, making it an obvious place for research. In Legalizando la Ciudad, Tito Alegria and Gerardo Ordonez present an exemplary case study of land regularization in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It is unfortunate that the book is only available in Spanish, as it is rich in data and historical analysis of the institutions of land regularization.

Design for Ecological Democracy by Randolph T. Hester

Design for Ecological Democracy is indispensable as both field guide and handbook for creating ecological democracy through the design of the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the future. As a field guide, Hester enables the reader to recognize the social and ecological beauty of places when it is encountered with his rich hand-drawn illustrations and watercolor paintings. As a handbook, Hester gives the reader the intellectual tools to apply these ideas in one's own work in planning and design with his thoughtful analysis and clear design principles.

Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and the Language of the Novel by Robert Alter

Robert Alter's statement that the "runaway growth of the city effected certain fundamental transformations in the nature of urban experience" comes as no surprise to city planners. Those same social convulsions spurned the creation of the modern profession of city planning. Alter, a professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, however, is focused not on the policy response to rapid urbanization, but the literary one. His beautifully written 2005 book Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and the Language of the Novel traces the evolution of the novel "as a searching response to the felt new reality of the European city."


Looking Beyond "Mow, Blow and Go": A Case Study of Mexican Immigrant Gardeners in Los Angeles

Recent research on Mexican immigrants focuses on the working conditions of farm workers, garment workers, janitors and day laborers. This coincides with successful efforts by organized labor and immigrant advocacy groups to organize these marginalized workforces. Little attention, however, has been given to Mexican paid gardeners. As part of the household service economy, paid gardeners represent a difficult labor sector to organize and research because they typically operate as independent contractors in the informal economy. This paper seeks to provide a more holistic picture of this dynamic workforce. Drawing primarily upon ethnographic techniques, the paper documents how this industry operates and its social organization. Based on research conducted in Los Angeles, the paper also demonstrates how a select group of self-employed, Mexican gardeners function as petty-entrepreneurs, benefiting in the informal economy by successfully utilizing their social capital and social networks.

Roosevelt and Rexford: Resettlement and its Results

The Greenbelt Towns program emerged in the late 1930s as a novel demonstration of suburban town planning in three communities: Greenbelt, Maryland; Greendale, Wisconsin; and Greenhills, Ohio. This paper discusses the scattered federal programs and policies from which the Greenbelt Towns emerged and briefly describes two other new town precedents, Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City and the Regional Planning Association of America’s involvement in Radburn, New Jersey. It further examines the physical and social development of the Greenbelt towns, the demonstration’s eventual failure, and how the program influenced and continues to shape government involvement in urban development and housing.

Chicken Coops and Machines of Interminable Errors: A History of the Grands Ensembles in Parisian Suburbs

The grands ensembles, rows of high-rise public housing units constructed in and around major French cities following World War II, were anticipated as the “miracle solution” for a catastrophic housing shortage. Yet they have often been blamed for a range of social ills, and two times since their construction have been the backdrop of violent youth riots. This paper pieces together the history of the grands ensembles through an examination of the emergence of public housing in France, the transformation of the construction industry, and the philosophical and aesthetic influences of the Modernist movement.

Is Dilution The Solution To Pollution? Municipal Sewerage Systems In Late Nineteenth Century San Francisco And London

This article explores the historical development of wastewater management planning in two cities: San Francisco and London. Both cities constructed their municipal sewerage networks in the late 1800s, and both cities designed these networks as combined systems, which carry storm water and sewer water in the same pipes. Due to differences in political and public attitudes towards sewage management and to the relative status of engineers versus scientists, London and San Francisco followed different processes in the development of municipal sewer systems. While London entertained a science-based approach that yielded innovative ideas in biological sewage treatment, San Francisco retained a traditional engineering approach that favored sewage conveyance over treatment. Though both cities eventually adopted similar combined sewer systems that have left challenging urban infrastructure planning legacies, London’s experimental methods a century ago provide a useful model for infrastructural problem-solving today, as planners attempt to accommodate growing urban populations with infrastructure solutions that achieve multiple public benefits. San Francisco and London are both ripe for new wastewater planning experiments that expand upon nineteenth century British notions of biological treatment, incorporating ecological, social, and economic benefits into municipal wastewater management.

Passing a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Ordinance: Lessons from San Francisco and San Diego

A mandatory inclusionary housing ordinance is a strong act on behalf of a city government in support of housing affordability. This paper examines the conditions and decision making processes that enabled San Francisco and San Diego to pass mandatory inclusionary housing measures, with the intent of developing recommendations for other large cities that wish to undertake similar programs. Three factors are identified as important in the successful passage of inclusionary housing ordinances: the involvement of a broad-based housing coalition, the existence of forums for negotiation between stakeholders, and the incremental enactment of tenets.

Building a Regional Voice: Stakeholder Perceptions of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ Blueprint Initiative

Regional planning, often touted as the answer to sporadic and unsustainable growth, has historically been weak in the Sacramento region and in California as a whole. Local governments control land use decision-making in their boundaries and regional governments have had little power or intent to disrupt that dynamic. However, a recent initiative by the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans), named the California Regional Blueprint Program, attempts to revise this paradigm. Through a multi-jurisdictional visioning process, the program endeavors to reintroduce regional planning in a way that satisfies local officials, stakeholders and the general public. This paper explores the process and progress of Blueprint planning in the Sacramento region. Interviews with regional staff who led the process and stakeholders who participated in it suggest that the Blueprint planning process helped build trust among these individuals, and progress toward a more sustainable development pattern in the future.


Kaye Bock Award Winners

The Kaye Bock Award is given to the author (or authors) of the best paper, as determined by the editors, in each issue of the Berkeley Planning Journal that was written by a student (or a team of students). The award is named in loving memory of Kaye Bock to honor her unbounded concern for and commitment to graduate students. This award is also intended to be an eternal expression of gratitude from the Berkeley Planning Journal to Kaye for her critical and caring support during our first two decades of publication. The Kaye Bock Award is accompanied by a $250 cash gift.



Recent Master's Theses, Professional Reports & Client Reports

Recent Master's Theses, Professional Reports & Client Reports



Urban Fringe

Americanization of Russian Cities?

Not unlike their counterparts in the United States, Russian cities are undergoing profound change in terms of both form and process, although in a uniquely Russian context. Understanding these core drivers can help shed light on how future Russian urbanization will proceed, on whether it will maintain a more compact city form or follow an explicitly Americanized model of low-density suburbanization.

A Change of Plan, or a Change of Planning?

Like many countries in Europe, Slovenia is experiencing significant changes in its urban and rural fabric through suburbanization and immigration. Small communities with limited administrative capacity to adapt to these incoming populations have been particularly affected. The associated problems include a lack of facilities for new migrants to existing villages, the rapid construction of atypical homes, and a dearth of recreation areas (Music 2004).

Little has been done to effectively address these challenges. Worse, new municipalities have been created for political reasons without any consideration of their capacity for implementing their required legal tasks. These tasks are especially not being achieved in the field of spatial planning. Instead, Slovenia is witnessing an imprudent construction of infrastructure at the micro level. This type of local development does not take into account the strategic context of the wider region. This approach bespeaks a larger problem, namely the lack of a strong and valued spatial culture in Slovenia.

Planning for Nomads at the Urban Periphery: Paradox or Possibility?

Urban planners and aid-donating institutions cherish and seek to preserve the nomadic national identity of Mongolia. These outsiders romanticize nomads as representing a simpler, freer pastoral existence unencumbered by the excessive materialism of modernity. By contrast, the Mongolian government abhors and seeks to end the same nomadic national identity on the grounds that it is materially impoverished and perpetuates a "culture of poverty" (Lewis 1966). Both these divergent perspectives frustrate planning by focusing on extremes rather than the real process of nomadic transition.

Theme Section

A Tribute to Kaye Bock

It's been almost seven months since Kaye passed, and I still haven't taken her number out of my speed dial. There's no good reason for keeping her old office phone number in my cell phone. It's an act of denial, perhaps. Or maybe it's just comforting in some way to scroll through my phone and see her name come up again and believe for half a second that I could still press a button and hear her matronly voice and full laugh ring in my ear. That brief moment of comfort is always followed a few seconds of tightening behind the eyes as I remember where and when we are today .

Vaya Con Dios, Kaye

This issue of the Berkeley Planning Journal is dedicated to Kaye Bock, the longtime Student Affairs Officer for the Department of City and Regional Planning here at Berkeley. Kaye's death came as a shock to the Berkeley planning community; staff, faculty, students and the roughly 1,000 planners that have survived their planning education in no small part due to Kaye's seemingly endless supply of caring, creativity, and know- how, plus her unwavering determination that you succeed no matter the barriers that you may face.