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Thread: Need help with research paper topic:

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Need help with research paper topic:

    I am trying to come up with a topic for my final paper in a public administration course. We can write the research paper over anything we want, as long as it is in the context of public administration.

    I would like to write my paper over an urban planning related issue, I'm just not sure where to begin thinking. I want to focus on the public administration elements of whatever I choose, being careful not to get into the "science" part of urban planning. I also need to find a topic which there are adequate scholarly resources available (I mostly use Academic Search Premier).

    If anyone has any ideas to get me started in the right direction, I would appreciate it very much!
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Go hit up the Public Administration Review, etc through the library periodicals databases. I was working on another topic, but kept coming acrossing journal articles discussing administrative issues as the creation of "one-stop shop" development services departments. You could look at the logistics of merging different seperate departments, such as planning, building and code enforcement and how you make the different institutional cultures blend. You could also look at procedures within planning departments and stuff like that. Basically, just look to the operations side of Planning. Another thought, you could focus on capital improvements planning & programming since that is usually where Planning sees interaction with the most departments--this would be especially good if you are looking for a public finance spin.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Thanks!!

    I'll check these out, especially the One-Stop-Shop as this was recently done in Austin's development review offices.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Thanks!!

    I'll check these out, especially the One-Stop-Shop as this was recently done in Austin's development review offices.
    You might look for information on the one in San Antonio. That little debacle cost a city manager her job. (though it was more than just this) Its probably one of the better examples of integrating departments without getting everybody on the same page and away from the turf wars. San Marcos is a good example of one that has become pretty effcient and I believe was one of the first cities to implement such an approach. Another one that I've heard positive things about is, of all places, College Station.

    I've got a good contact with TCEQ if you want to interview someone that has oodles of experience merging government departments--he headed up the merger to create TNRCC, which is now TCEQ. Really interesting guy that can also provide some insight into the Homeland Security merger. [shameless plug]He's also an alumnus of the Texas State MPA program.[/shameless plug]

    I'm starting one from scratch here at my city, so I don't have the integration headaches that some others have experienced.



    Another fun one might be the unnecessary administrative headaches and excessive red tape caused by having 10 million zoning districts... I'm serious here...

    Though tough, you might be able to research administration of conventional zoning vs. a full performance-based approach. Does it really take more staff and is it more difficult to administer performance-based zoning? (you might hit Lee Nellis on this topic; I know of a couple of cities you could use for research)

    You could focus on policy development and discuss use of codes like Duany's SmartCode.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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