Most of our Urban Planning Master’s students complete an Applied Planning Research Project (APRP) on behalf of a client to satisfy their graduation capstone requirement. Students are required to develop an interesting, meaningful, and feasible capstone project through five steps.
(1) Agree on a project scope with an outside client,
(2) State a clear applied research question,
(3) Review germane literature,
(4) Develop a research plan and methodology, and
(5) Embark upon data collection and analysis.
The project provides an opportunity for students to diagnose a problem situation, select appropriate analytic methods, evaluate alternative approaches, and recommend an approach or solution. Here are some examples of the wide range of topics addressed:
- Governments Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change
- Cycling in Los Angeles
- Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project: Lessons Learned for Maintaining Public Support
- Incremental Changes for Neighborhood Councils: A Toolkit of Design Strategies and Interventions for more Livable Neighborhoods
- Achieving Zero Waste at UCLA
- Benefit-Cost Analysis for Transportation Project Evaluation
- Ecological Pocket Parks: Empowering Communities through Neighborhood Water Quality Projects
- Housing Homeless Families: Characteristics and Best Practices of Family Transitional Programs in Los Angeles County
APRPs are typically initiated in the summer or fall (no earlier than June 15 and no later than October 15) and are completed by early June. Students work with their client, a faculty advisor, and a faculty project coordinator in defining, designing, and collecting data for their project in the fall, and in analyzing, writing, and revising their project in the winter.
For additional information, click here  to view a sample proposal, samples of two completed student projects and the complete list of past projects. You will also find a sample Memorandum of Understanding and guidelines for client relations.
If you would like to submit a proposal for an Applied Planning Research Project, please email a description of the project, including the proposed research question and the scope of services requested, to Sherry Dodge at firstname.lastname@example.org  by August 15, 2013. Projects that include funding/financial support are most likely to be selected.