in venezuela for several decades, graduate school town planning students have focused on urban problem studies, simulation models and plans to ？solve？ problems. in most venezuelan cities, urban planning has often not been implemented. even worse, curricula have underestimated methods for structuring problems and for making decisions under pressure and with little data. however, over the last decade, some professors have introduced workshops on the strategic choice approach of j. friend and a. hickling (2002) in the master？s course in town planning policies and local action at the instituto de urbanismo of the universidad central de venezuela. the aim is to allow students to make proposals for the immediate improvement of downtown zones in caracas as there is not enough time to make and approve ？plans？. this case study, the solid waste management in downtown caracas, results from work carried out with professors and students for the libertador municipality. this experience allowed us to make immediate proposals for the decision takers in a short period of time, jointly with the agencies involved in the problems, as well as to identify mid-term studies.