Textbook Case

Seventy students taking a course in regional and urban economics at the Wisconsin School of Business re­cently participated in the writing of a textbook.
Not many undergraduate business students get to help write a text­book in the topic they’re studying. But 70 students taking a course in regional and urban economics at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison re­cently participated in the writing of Urban Land Economics. The textbook is written for undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in business, economics, real estate, and urban and regional planning.

Taught by Jaime Luque, assis­tant professor in real estate and economics, the course introduces students to the contributions of cit­ies to economic and social develop­ment. Last spring, Luque’s students read the latest research from relevant journals and then broke out into teams, each responsible for writing a chapter of a textbook. The chapters explored how a city’s economic vibrancy could be affect­ed by different aspects of urban development, including the regula­tory environment, neighborhoods, schools, transportation, commerce, homelessness, poverty, crime, and urban sprawl.

Luque met with each group of students to proofread and comment on their first drafts for the text­book. The project was the ultimate research paper for his students and a way for them to engage in a truly active learning process, he says. “This was a unique opportunity for students to put their analytical and writing skills to work.”

The students are noted as contributors in the textbook and can place that credit on their résumés. It was published in April by Springer International Publisher.