LA/UP 341 Fall 1999

Course Outline

Instructor: Brian Orland
class meets 10:30-11:50, MW, 325 Temple Buell Hall
office hours: 9-11, Tues, Thurs. 308 Temple Buell Hall
please contact me via e-mail vs. phone

Course syllabus:

This course looks at different ways of evaluating the land, problems that arise when attempting to evaluate land, and policies that may be developed to address those problems. In part the course is about the philosophy of evaluation -- why we do it. A second portion is devoted to methods -- how we do it. And the third part of the class is devoted to learning some of the tools we use to do it.

In starting to organize this class I have tried to define a hierarchy of human values related to the environment. The order I have created here is based on a notion of the "success" of each in being addressed by legislative and management activities. It is ironic that they tend to "wrap-around" in a complete loop with human health at one end and existence at the other.

The projects we do in class will mostly be done in the context of the environmental and social conditions in East St. Louis.  You will be encouraged to attend a work weekend during the semester.


The course will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30-11:50. Generally, on Mondays we will be in Room 325, Temple Buell Hall. Meeting times will cover work prepared by me and by you. On Mondays we'll focus on talk and follow the readings schedule. I hope we will rapidly move toward a discussion format with short lectures.  On Wednesdays we will do practical sessions involving learning software, collecting information etc. where I will be available in a lab format session. That will be held in the Room 201/202 Mumford Hall  computer lab, in the DURP computer lab at 226 TBH, or in the Environmental Rehearsal Studio at 20 TBH.  I'll be as surprised as you to see where that ends up being!

Practicals and Projects:

The projects we do in class will all be done in the context of the environmental and social conditions in East St. Louis.  They will use East St. Louis data and pose questions relevant to that setting.  The work weekend will be an opportunity to "test" some of our ideas from the class against real conditions on the ground..  Depending on numbers in the class I will get people to work in pairs or threes to tackle evaluations of small sites within the context of the concept of "sustainability."
  1.   Literature review (on-line search) 5% of grade

  2.         Possible topics:
  3.   On-line bibliography (html, writing) 10%
  4.   Economic evaluation approaches - simple (spreadsheet) 5%
  5.   Economic evaluation approaches - discounting (spreadsheet) 10%
  6.   Visual Resource Assessment (survey) 5%
  7.   Visual Resource Assessment (report) 5%
  8.   Suitability mapping (gis) 5%
  9.   Group report on assessed site values (html) 35%
  10.   Weekly reference submissions 10%
  11.   Classroom participation in discussions 10%

I know some of the people in the class already have formidable skills in some of the applications we will be using.  Since we have limited resources for hands-on help with learning I am assuming the more advanced will help tutor the less and I will assign credit for that based on feedback from the tutees.

Weekly reference assignment:

One of my big concerns is that you read the material assigned each week and be prepared to discuss it.  My ability to find new and interesting material is limited by the time I have available and by my own limited perspective.  Each week you will be required to find an article, book, or other reference material that is relevant to the week's readings, provide a full reference and a 100-150 word summary of what it says, and be prepared to talk about it in class.  You will submit the work electronically so we can include it in the class webpage.


There is no text for the course. A class reader is available from Notes and Quotes in the Johnstowne Center at John and 5th Streets in Champaign.

Course framework:

Some categories of environmental values:

This will be the lecture/discussion "spine" of the class, looking at how values are operationalized and doing "practicals" with defined goals

I. Human values and some views of the environment

II. Public health and an hierarchy of environmental values

III. Economic evaluation:

IV. Social welfare aspects of environmental values:

V. The evaluation of leisure and recreation:

VI. Visual quality evaluation:

VII. Evaluation of cultural resources:

VIII. Existence value:

The saliency question:

This will be more of a "sidebar" that comes up every week as a question where for each "value category" we consider this checklist of ways to establish the saliency (whether it is important in a particular situation) of the particular value and how it is done

Issues and case studies:

I. Urban and rural land conversion: II. Pollution and degradation: III. The natural environment: IV. The visual environment:


The "practicals" will use topics from the framework above.  The structure is not quite right or complete -- it changes every year -- but it is kinda close.

Library Online/Internet WWW search

Use a browser and basic search services to find and retrieve data about issues related to land and environmental values.
Acquire and organize data etc. via the services of the  library and Internet.


Learn to use a discussion forum and post useful stuff -- references, text and graphics.
Basic text and graphics software, use of scanner.


Create a homepage where all the semester work will be assembled and communicated.
Netscape Composer editor.
Acquire and organize material for the Internet.


Use computational abilities, charting and graphing in Excel to model and display quantitative environmental information.
Excel and Excel Internet Assistant.


Identify resource relationships of theoretical importance to quality of life, locate their occurences using ArcView etc., conduct evaluations and project future changes.
ArcView, EGRETS.


Identify the value of natural resources associated with small urban sites.  Conduct evaluations or air,  water, and wildlife habitat quality benefits and project future changes.
ArcView and CITYgreen.

Modified: 1 August 1999, Brian Orland