Free AICP Practice Test

1. Which case is considered a landmark ruling that made government agency decisions subject to judicial review, and also spurred the creation of large numbers of citizens groups dedicated to environmental activism?

a. Cheney v. Village 2 at New Hope
b. Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe
c. Sierra Club v. Morton
d. Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

2. Who wrote The Geography of Nowhere, and views American suburban sprawl as a symptom of a kind of national cultural insanity that cannot long continue?

a. Noam Chomsky
b. Thomas Friedman
c. James Kunstler
d. Jacques Barzun

3. In addition to transect-based code and transit oriented development, a community built along the lines of New Urbanism would use which of these?

a. cluster zoning
b. floating zones
c. exclusive zoning
d. form-based zoning

4. Over the last couple of decades, the federal government has been razing large public housing projects in American cities and dispersing the residents across the municipal area. This was done because large housing projects with thousands of residents tended to have very high levels of crime, and this was thought to be a result of concentrating so much poverty in one small area. It was predicted that using Section 8 vouchers and other programs to spread the former residents out over a much larger area would lower overall crime rates in cities. What effect has this change actually had on municipal crime rates?

a. there is not enough evidence to say that it has or hasn't resulted in lower crime rates
b. in most cities, it has resulted in measurably lower crime rates
c. in most cities, it has resulted in measurably higher crime rates
d. it has resulted in lower crime rates in every city where it has been tried

5. What does Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act do?

a. sets minimum standards for federal agencies to use in recognizing historic places
b. requires federal agencies to review the impact of a proposed action or policy on historic preservation
c. requires federal agencies to consult with local urban planners and historic preservation groups in deciding which places deserve recognition
d. requires federal agencies to get permission from the current owner of a structure before designating it as a historic place

Answers and Explations

1. b: In the 1960s, the ad hoc group Citizens to Preserve Overton Park filed suit against US Secretary of Transportation John Volpe after he announced plans to build Interstate 40 through Overton Park in Memphis, TN. The suit claimed that he was violating section 4(f) of the Dept. of Transportation Act of 1966, which required the government to show there were no "feasible and prudent" alternatives to using public lands, such as parks, when building freeways. In 1971 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of CPOP, leading to an explosion in grass roots environmental activism.

2. c: James Howard Kunstler believes that the world will soon run out of oil, and that our refusal to deal with this putative end of oil is a form of cultural insanity. He wrote The Geography of Nowhere in 1993, before he became convinced that oil was about to run out. In it he argued that suburban sprawl is wasteful, ugly, senseless, and destructive of community. His conversion to peak oil theory only increased his hatred of suburbanization, as he believes it did so much to exhaust our limited oil supplies at the same time it was destroying our cities.

3. d: One of the main features of New Urbanism is that workplaces, schools, homes, recreational areas, etc., are all within walking distance for neighborhood residents. None of the other three answers would allow for that; in fact exclusive zoning seeks the exact opposite goal of zones dedicated to exclusively residential, commercial or industrial use. With form-based zoning, a house, doctor's office and small business could all be very close to each other, and they would share design and appearance features.

4. a: There were many predictions from both liberals and conservatives that dispersing the poor population across a city would lower crime rates dramatically. Some conservatives disagreed, saying that crime wouldn't decrease, but would only spread out across the city. There is not much data to show that either view was correct. In 2008, there was a controversial article in The Atlantic by Hannah Rosin which said that changing crime patterns in the Memphis MSA overlapped almost perfectly with the use of Section 8 housing vouchers by previous project residents. Rosin based her article on the work of criminologist Richard Janikowski and sociologist Phyllis Betts. However, after the article resulted in considerable controversy, Janikowski and Betts disavowed it, saying their work had been misinterpreted. So the jury is still out on this issue.

5. b: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is the section that orders federal agency planners and officials to take into account how any proposed agency action or policy would affect historic preservation.


Last Updated: 07/05/2018

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