Assignment 1: Reading Reflections: The readings are an essential component of your learning experience.
We will test you on the readings by requiring that you participate in classroom discussions; requiring that you
write essays about them on a final, and you produce 4 reading reflections. You will hand them in at the
beginning of class and on Turnitin. A reading reflection is late if not handed in at the beginning on the due
date. No reflection will be graded that is handed in later than one week after the due date. If we do not
receive both turnitin and hard copies the reflection will receive a 5 point reduction in grade.
The reflections should consider one or more of the readings in the designated period. Typically, the
reflections will be 2 to 3 pages. They should be in a reasonably sized font (no more than 11 or 12 point), with
one-inch margins. They will be graded for style (grammar, etc.) as well as content, so don’t try to write one on
your bicycle on the way to class.
What is a reflection paper? Please, do not write a summary of the reading or a set of disconnected thoughts or
a question. The folks at media cst (media.cst.edu/uploads/genericfile/writing-reflection-papers.pdf) have provided
the following suggestions (edited for length, and some language altered to make it germane to our class):
1. In 1 or 2 sentences, summarize the main idea(s) in the reading in your own words using precise descriptive
language. After that, consider some of the following questions:
2. Does the reading challenge your thinking in any way? Does it provide information that changes the way
you think about planning and development history? Be specific in your answer.
3. Is there an important question that arises as you read this chapter/article?
4. Is there something that you want to criticize or disagree with? Does anything make you uncomfortable or
contradict your ideas about planning and development?
5. How do the ideas connect with other readings, lectures, or experiences you’ve had? How would you
integrate these ideas with what you already know or think about this subject? How could you apply what you
6. Is there anything in your past experience that resonates with or clashes with this reading?
These are suggestions, not the rules for an outline. You need to write your essay, not just answer the
questions. You should be asking yourself – how does this reading add to my knowledge of planning and real
estate development? How does it challenge my presumptions about the fields? How does it challenge my own
beliefs about the city and its development? How does it tie to other things I have been reading in other
One way to show that you have accumulated knowledge during the class is, as the class proceeds, make
intelligent connections between the reading from the current week with ones from previous weeks. This
course has a series of threads that flow through it, and the later readings do build on earlier ones.
Using those thoughts, organize your reflection paper to express those ideas, emotions, concerns, and
understandings. You can include multiple readings if that makes sense in the reflection. Deciding to do the
Tuesday reading, and not completing the Thursday’s readings is not a good strategy for two reasons: first, we
will still be talking about the readings in class, and your participation grade will suffer; second, you will have
some nights where you don’t want to read, and, oops, there goes you’re chance at an A.
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