USP 530 – Assignment 1

CJ Trowbridge


USP 530

Assignment #1

Choose a social problem that will impact cities in the future and use the healthy cities wheel framework to identify how urban authorities should address this problem – fill out every section of the wheel.


Assemble a diverse and inclusive group

There are many different kinds of stakeholders when it comes to the issue of black water remediation. Let’s take a triple-bottom-line perspective on classifying the stakeholders who want to onboard to the cause. On the one hand, there are the people who live in communities affected by existing remediation techniques, disproportionately BIPOC and people in other marginalized communities. On the other hand, there are those who have limited access to fresh water such as the unhoused. Last there are business interests who stand to profit from the change to reclaiming rather than merely remediating black water. Reclaiming black water means converting yesterday’s waste outputs into tomorrow’s resource inputs.


Generate a vision

The vision will depend on the perspectives expressed by the stakeholders. It will likely include leveraging the change from remediation to reclamation in order to ameliorate the impacts of existing waste management techniques on people in marginalized communities. It will also include addressing water scarcity and the lack of access to water resources in the community. Third it will include finding buyers and building a supply chain to handle the new resources being created in the form of fresh water and compostables as a result of implementing the new process.


Assess assets, resources, and barriers

The current techniques for remediation essentially just dilute black water with up to thirty times as much fresh water, then passing it through aerobic and anaerobic processes to sterilize it before dumping it into the oceans and rivers. One of the biggest challenges will be funding construction of new systems to separate liquids and solids before purifying each through bioreaction and composting respectively. This means not just these two outputs become resources, but also that enormous amount of water which is no longer being wasted diluting black water before dumping it during as a part of the current system.


Prioritize issues

The triple bottom line has to drive discussions about priorities. We must be certain to address all three perspectives without missing any. It’s not just about implementation cost-savings, increasing protection from harm in marginalized communities, or saving the environment; rather it must be all three.


Develop a community-wide strategy

Every person in the community produces black water every day. This means everyone is involved in both the problem and the solution. Everyone stands to benefit from the improved environmental impact, the implementation cost-savings, whether or not they are in marginalized communities who will see additional benefits. The fact that everyone in the community will be positively affected means everyone can be brought on board with the plan and play a role in pushing the necessary policy changes forward.

It also means the plan will need to be implemented in every current black water facility around the city and eventually the broader region.


Implement the plan

The biggest part of implementing the plan will be retrofitting or replacing existing facilities. Rather than diluting blackwater with enormous amounts of fresh water, we will be separating it, cleaning it, and then exporting each component as a valuable resource. This means in place of several large tanks, we will need special filtration systems to separate the liquids and solids, then holding tanks and an infrastructure for exporting the solid resources.

There are a lot of ways we could go with exporting the fresh water we create. Because many may be uncomfortable directly drinking the reclaimed fresh water despite its purity, it may make more sense to pipe it up to the headwaters of the same watersheds we originally took the water from. In the example of San Francisco, there are already pipelines bringing water down from Hetch Hetchy. Additional pipelines could take the purified water reclaimed from black water and pump it back up to the headwaters. This essentially mimics the natural process of evaporation and precipitation which we are already relying on. We are just skipping the step of dumping the water in the ocean and waiting for some small amount to evaporate and then later precipitate into the Hetch Hetchy system. We can skip this middle-man of mother nature and simply put the water back where we took it from.

There is also the potential to sell the purified fresh water to bottled water companies like Nestle instead of allowing them to drain and destroy the aquifers in order to make bottled water. The purity of reclaimed black water would likely improve the quality of the now totally unregulated contents of bottled water.


Monitor and adjust your effort

We will need to carefully observe the process of leveraging the outputs to make sure they are being used appropriately. Once we see adoption taking off, it may be time to take the fight to a broader geographic area and expand this vital technology into other nearby regions.


Establish new systems to maintain/build on your gains

We should be very vocal about the benefits we see from no longer wasting incredible amounts of water the way we are now. In addition, we should work to emphasize the triple-bottom-line benefits of turning waste outputs into valuable products. This will help accelerate adoption of this new system by other cities.


Celebrate benchmarks and successes

Once the system is up and running, the number of bad-pun-fueled galas and public relations events are endless. Imagine the look on a visiting dignitary’s face when they are offered a pu pu platter at the black water gala. Or when it is revealed that their $25 bottle of Voss water was actually repackaged human excrement. The potential for practical jokes celebrating the success of the system would be endless. We might even reach a point where San Francisco can name its sewer system not after people it doesn’t like (George W Bush), but in honor of people it does like.


Tackle the next issue(s)

The next issue is obvious; it’s the same issue but on a bigger scale! Now that San Francisco has adopted black water reclamation, we need to get Oakland and San Jose and Berkeley and all the other cities in the bay area to do the same. Then the rest of California and then the world!

Session 4

February 17th
Session Four: Reducing Social and Racial Inequality: Basic Income, Universal Health Care, New Deal Type Stimulus Package for Job Creation, Affordable Housing, Eliminating Student Debt, Reparations, The People’s Budget

This session will focus on the increasing social inequality in the United States and its consequences. We will be guided by the following questions:


  • Discussed Texas power grid collapse and Malthusian comments about social darwinism from mayor of Colorado City
  • Bezos is now making $150k/hr
    • His workers in Oklahoma are striking for a living wage
    • $15/hr is not enough to survive anymore


  1. What do we mean by “social inequality” and “racial inequality”?
    • Disparate impact in things like health outcomes, wealth, and access to vital resources like food and water
  2. How do we measure social inequality and racial inequality?
    • By measuring that disparate impact
  3. How do social inequality and racial inequality impact urban life?
    • by causing social problems
  4. What strategies and policies can be used to reduce social and racial inequalities?
    • Living wage
    • Public healthcare
    • Taxing wealth, stock trades, inheritance, etc
    • Mandating regional minimum wages everywhere which are higher than the cost of living and that update automatically every year based on increases in cost of living.
  5. How do we define a “decent living standard” in cities around the world? (Energy article)
  6. Is there a universal standard of “well being”?
  7. What standards are required for universal well being?
  8. What is the basic income?
    • A flawed attempt to solve the same problem that the lack of living wage is already not solving; helping wages catch up with cots of living.
  9. What do we learn from a case study of Canada’s basic income proposal?


KPFA Upfront January 25, 2021 Oakland’s Proposed “Peoples Budget”


  1. Growing Wealth Inequality, 2019 – Why The Inequality Gap Is Growing Between Rich And Poor –
    • This is that video we’ve all seen a million times where researchers ask people how wealth is distributed and what the ideal distribution is. The people are super wrong and they argue that things should change to be more like the ideal that clearly emerges in the consensus of the survey.
      • “The ideal is as far removed from reality as the actual distribution is from what people think reality is.”
  2. Global Wealth Inequality, 2013 – This video is not up to date but still has great value (4 minutes)
    • global lower class is 70% of the population controlling just 3% of the wealth
    • next 21% controls just 12% of the global wealth
    • next 10% controls
    • next 8% (global upper-middle class) controls 38% of the world’s wealth
    • top 1% controls 47% of the world’s wealth
      • more annual wealth production than Japan and Germany combined
      • top 8 individuals control more wealth than the bottom 50%
  3. The Insane Scale of Global Wealth Inequality Visualized, 2019 (9 minutes)
  4. Joseph Stiglitz “How Inequality In Today’s Society Endangers Our Future” (1 hour)

Required Reading – For this session, students will take one reading and present it to the class

  1. –
  2. The Ever Growing Income Gap: Without Change African American and Latino Families won’t match White Wealth for Centuries – this is outdated
  5. Free money might be the best way to end poverty, Washington Post, 2013 – heather upload article to 530 Ilearn site
  6. Report of 2020 Billionaires –
  7. What Money Can Buy: The Promise of a universal basic income- and its limitations (Covert, 2011)
    • UBI has ancient roots. Sir Thomas More argued for it in Utopia in 1551.
    • Its recent resurgence stems from concerns about automation and AI
    • It now has widespread support
    • Arguments for why
      • Dramatically reduce poverty
        • Examples
          • Kenya: GiveDirectly NGO
      • 41 million americans living below poverty line in 2016
        • UBI would allow them to fill their unmet needs
      • UBI could be about a real American economic justice
        • No more making the poor submit to humiliation in order to receive benefits
      • UBI could be a more fair way to distribute the nation’s wealth
      • UBI could empower workers to walk away from bad jobs.
      • Federal jobs guarantee could solve many of the same problems.
    • In a recent interview, Yang said $1k is no longer enough and the UBI would need to be doubled (from a year ago), but that as the next Mayor of NYC he does not intend to launch UBI because of budget shortfalls.
      • My own opinion is that UBI tries and fails to address the fundamental problem of the decoupling of wages and the cost of living. Just like minimum wage increases, no one has proposed indexing UBI to cost of living. Therefore costs will simply adjust to consume the UBI, and then everyone will be paying $1k/more for the same things they’re paying for now, and then we will be right back where we started. All the same problems could be solved by automatically indexing regional minimum wage to consumer costs each year.
  8. “Energy Requirements for Decent Living in India, Brazil, and South Africa” – Narasimha D. RaoJihoon Min & Alessio Mastrucci
  9. The Politics of Bernie Sander’s “Medicare For All” (Cassidy, 2017)
  10. New Deal Type Stimulus Package for Job Creation -
  11. The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to end Homelessness (Carrier, 2015)
  12. In Liberal San Francisco, Tech Leaders Brawl Over Tax Proposal to Aid Homeless (Conger, 2018)
  13. Eliminating Student Debt
  14. Reparations –
  15. The People’s Budget: A Roadmap to Resistance (2018)


  1. Why we should give everyone a basic income | Rutger Bregman | 17 minutes
  2. Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come | James Mulvale | 18 minutes

 KPFA Program January 2, 20 Radio Ecoshock, Nature and Energy, Yale University study start at 2:13 minutes


1) Go to:  and calculate your ecological footprint. Be prepared to discuss what you learned about your ecological footprint in class.

Session 3

Session Three: Healthy Cities Movement Framework and Information for Assignment #1 Due March 3, 2021

This session will focus on the “healthy cities movement”, a long-term international development initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization that places health high on the agenda of decision makers and promotes comprehensive local strategies for health protection and sustainable development in cities. The basic features of the healthy cities model include: community participation and empowerment, intersectional partnerships, and participant equity. The healthy cities movement defines a “healthy city” as: A city that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential. In this session we will address the following questions:

  1. What principles and values undergird the healthy cities initiative and movement?
  2. Can these principles and values guide us as we think about alternative urban futures?
  3. What can we learn about the future of cities from the healthy cities movement?
  4. What are the social determinants of health and why are they important for healthy cities?

Required Reading

  1. The Healthy Cities Movement: Working Paper For The Lancet Commission On Healthy Cities
  2. A Healthy City For All: Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy 2014-2025
  3. The Healthy Eating Plate
  4. CSA Community supported agriculture


  1. WHO: Towards Making a Healthy City – 6 minutes
  2. Making The Connections: Our City, Our Society, Our Health  – (3.48 minutes)
  3. When Healthy Meets City | Marianne LeFever – 17 minutes
  4. NYC coalition against hunger csa fundraiser


  • Healthy cities movement was founded by public health experts, not by urban planners.
  • Healthy cities movement takes public health needs of individuals and applies it to the urban context.
  •   Healthy cities model developed at a meeting in Ottowa
      • Human body needs;
        • low pollution
        • clean water
        • sufficient nutritious food
        • etc
      • Social determinants of health
        • access to adequate housing
        • access to healthcare
        • access to sufficient income
        • access to safe environment
        • etc
        • If you have these or dont have these then you will be more or less healthy vs ill
      • Peace: young black men were at greater risk of physical harm at home then at war
      • Shelter
      • Education that is free, adequate, available, and accessible to all
      • Food, enough and adequate
      • Income adequate to support a reasonable quality of life
      • clean air
      • sustainable resources
      • Social justice: people are not mistreated of discriminated against by those more powerful
      • Equity
    • Comprehensive view of health
      • education
      • diversity
      • inclusion
      • food security
      • health care
      • affordable housing
      • walkability
      • access to public transportation
      • good dispersion of green space
  • Healthy city wheel model from last week’s readingImage depicting Healthy Cities/Heathy Communities that includes the following phases in an elliptical graph: “Assemble a diverse and inclusive group; Generate a vision; Assess assets and resources and barriers; Prioritize issues; Develop a community-wide strategy; Implement the plan; Monitor and adjust your effort; Establish new systems to maintain/build on your gains, Celebrate benchmarks and successes; Tackle the next issue(s).”
    • Assemble a diverse and inclusive group
    • Create a vision
    • Assess assets, resources, and barriers
    • Prioritize issues
    • Develop a community-wide strategy
    • Implement the plan
    • Monitor and adjust your effort
    • Establish new systems to maintain/build on your gains
    • Celebrate benchmarks and successes
    • Tackle the next issue
  • For the assignment
    • Answer who is included in the group
      • Identify the ways they are not homogeneous
  • What factors drive the decisions urban decision makers consider
    • money
      • personal gain
      • how to attract businesses and employment
      • manage cities in ways that attract rich people
      • increase tax base
      • how to prevent getting sued
    • what ideologies are en vogue
    • legacy building
    • increase public safety
    • lulu siting/ nimbys
    • how to build a positive image of the city
  • what factors drive the decisions public health officials consider
    • access to clean water, air, food
    • income
    • shelter
    • environmental factors
    • education
    • conflict, violence, safety
    • stressors
    • indicators
      • vulnerability index
      • child health indicators


  1. Watch the video below and summarize what you learned from Prof Stiglitz and be prepared to share what you learned with the class Joseph Stiglitz “How Inequality In Today’s Society Endangers Our Future” (1 hour)
  2. Watch the video below and summarize the statistical information provided in the video and be prepared to share what you learned with the class The Insane Scale of Global Wealth Inequality Visualized, 2019 (9 minutes)
  3.  Update the statistics on billionaires by going to the website update and be prepared to share what you learned with the class

Session 2

Session Two: Principles, Values, and the Future of Cities

February 3rd


  • What makes a good city
    •  Thomas
      • Affordable housing
      • Diverse forms of travel
      • Actively democratic
      • Environmental accountability
    • Mariegail
      • Equitable distribution of services and goods like healthcare and housing
      • Sustainability
      • Walkability
      • Everyone’s basic needs are met
    • Tammy
      • Accessible library system
      • Accessible public transit
      • Affordable housing
      • No food deserts
      • No digital divide
      • Open public spaces
      • Quality education systems
      • Renewable energy infrastructure
      • No racist land use policy
    • Madjeid
      • Happy children
      • No traffic
      • Sustainable density
      • Social justice
      • Environmentally responsible/ accountable
    • Marcus
      • Clean water
      • Oversight board for human rights commissions
      • Support for elderly population
      • Draw for young people from rural areas
      • Professional sports
    • Gustavo
      • Integrated neighborhoods (Racially/ socioeconomically)
    • Malik
      • Helping neighborhoods that need help
    • Joshua
      • Living wages
      • Accessible, human-centered transit
      • Community culture, not individual culture
      • Localized power grid
      • Income-based affordable housing
      • Public banks
    • Raquel
      • Support for arts and cultures
      • No prisons, jails, or juvenile centers: prison abolition
      • No differentiation by immigration status
      • No discrimination
    • Ann
      • Zero waste
      • Resource recovery
    • Brian
      • Regional solidarity
      • Regional public health coordination
  • What principles/ approaches
    • Cooperation
    • Respect
    • Global Community
    • Benefits of sharing/ multiculturalism
    • Society needs healthy children

New Content

  • Principles are rules or beliefs that govern our actions
  • Values are things you think are important or not important which inform behavior
  • Obscure, solidify, reify the power dynamic
  • Policies are based on values
    • Policies reflect who has more power
  • Professor wants us to think about policies and laws and zoning codes that get embedded on the books as values.
    • Because she wants us to understand that everything that happens is the result of power dynamics.
  • Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.

This session will focus on the principles and values that inform student’s analysis of urban conditions and on what students hope to see in cities of the future. The following questions will guide our discussion – in 8 breakout rooms, one group for each question:

  1. What principles and values can guide us as we examine and envision alternative models and scenarios for the future of cities?
  2. How can the principles developed by the Black Lives Matter activists inform our principles?
  3. To what extent can social and economic change be planned?
  4. Who should be responsible for determining the direction of change in cities?
  5. Where and when should people be proactive in pushing for change?
  6. How can cities and metropolitan regions be reorganized to produce urban futures that are more sustainable, equitable, and livable?
  7. What are the impacts of increasing inequality in the United States?
  8. When we focus on alternative urban futures, how important is it to focus on large scale dynamics related to the structure of society and the economy?

Required Reading:

Study the website below:


Three Roles Cities Play in Building a Sustainable Future – 2 minutes
Inclusive, resilient, productive, livable, sustainable


FIRST: Write down all the characteristics you associate with the idea of a “healthy” city.

  • Access to sufficient food
  • Access to sufficient water
  • Access to sufficient housing
  • Clean air
  • Free universal healthcare

After you make your list answer these two questions: What are the measurements you would use to document a healthy city? How do you think urban authorities can promote a healthy city?

  1. Percent unhoused population
  2. AQI and other metrics of air quality
  3. Randomized checks of water quality
  4. Longitudinal analyses of food deserts and swamps

SECOND: Review the website below and be prepared to discuss what you learned from watching the video.


  1. 7 Principles for Building Better Cities | Peter Calthorpe (14 minutes)
  2. Sustainable Development in Brazil – (21 minutes)

Session 1

January 27th
Session One:

Part One: Introductions, review syllabus, grading, and Zoom policies.

  • Cities are planned by
    • urban planners
    • city government
    • state government
    • national government
    • developers – non-profit/ for profit
    • social movements
    • lobbying, special interests
  • how do people with less social power relate to groups with more social power

Part Two: Discussion focused on concerns, challenges, and hopes for the future of cities. Class discussion for Part Two guided by the questions below into 9 breakout rooms (one for each question):

  1. What do you think of when you hear the term “alternative urban futures”?
    • the realization that sustainability does not have an alternative that you can survive
  2. What are your most significant concerns for the future of cities?
    • urban sprawl
    • “overpopulation”
    • better transit
    • affordable housing
    • people leaving the cities
    • housing
    • sustainable income
    • urban sprawl
    • empty cities
    • crime
    • access to resources
    • urban decay
    • housing quality
    • affordable housing
    • urban density
    • climate change
    • equity
    • corporate dominance
  3. What are the most significant challenges facing the future of cities?
  4. How would you prioritize what you think needs to change to improve quality of life in cities?
  5. What policies and programs do you think are working well in cities?
  6. What changes, policies and programs do you think would improve quality of life for people living in cities?
  7. What do you think would prevent these changes from happening?
  8. What do you think would make it more likely that these changes could occur?
  9. What strategies can urban residents use to promote change in urban areas?
  10.  How do we define: Inclusive, Resilient, Productive, Livable, Sustainable


Part II “A Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair – 7.36 minutes


FIRST: Create two lists. On the first list, write down all of the characteristics you associate with a “good” city. On the second list, write down all of the principles and values that influenced how you thought about and determined the characteristics you associate with a “good” city?

  • A good city
    • Is safe (Implements resident stewardship and community-based policing.)
    • Provides for the basic needs of its people (sufficient shelter, food, water, public restrooms, etc)
    • Has enough affordable housing for everyone
    • Resists gentrification and displacement
    • Housing is held by the public and planned/subsidized to be sustainable and available in sufficient quantities for all who need it
    • Consumes less of everything
    • Centers people instead of cars
  • Principles and values
    • Sustainable power, water, and food systems
    • Resource sovereignty
    • Housing is affordable and accessible to all
    • Anti-gentrification
    • De-growth
    • Transit oriented development

NEXT: Watch the video below and write down the ways in which this city reflects or does not reflect the list you created of the principles and values that influenced how you thought about and determined the characteristics you associate with a “good” city?

  • Does
    • Enough housing in Songdu
    • Cities like Seoul, Singapore, and Paris are choosing to get rid of highways and replace them with green spaces that center people instead of cars.
    • Almost no one owns cars in Singapore
    • Electric rickshaws are free in Santiago
    • Shanghai hides cars in underground tunnels
    • Reykjavik uses geothermal energy
    • Lima uses air wells
    • Dr Jockin of Slum Dwellers International built a million improvised shelters for people living in slums in 43 countries
      • Also built recycling programs
    • 82% of people in Singapore live in public housing
    • Denmark has 150% tax on all car purchases
  • Does not
    • Private housing in Songdu
    • Neoliberal capitalist solutions in Detroit to the failure of the city to deliver the most basic essentials like water
    • Shenzhen centers cars with giant highways
    • Cheaper in Shenzhen to drive to a supermarket and buy food from thousands of miles away than to use transit to get to a farmers market and buy local food
    • US teaches others that subsidizing cars is a good idea
    • Many architects have a pre-designed approach that they force onto whatever place they get to, rather than listening to what the people there actually want and need.

The Future of Cities – (18 minutes)