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Course Information

Instructor Info:Myrna Breitbart
Office Extension x5457
TA Info:Zack Collura
David Meehan-Romero
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108
Description: This course introduces the field of urban studies in a primarily U.S. context. It explores how markedly different urban visions and planning strategies both respond to, and promote, economic and social change. Critical urban theory and case studies examine how and why transformations in city space/life occur over time, and how social inequities are mapped onto the urban landscape, prompting struggles over the "right to the city". We consider the historical origins of urban social reform and the radical genesis, and then demise, of such policies as public housing. Throughout the course, the city is approached as a contested terrain upon which solutions to problems and alternative visions are imagined, realized or thwarted. A contemporary focus on the neoliberal city, and uneven development, raises questions about the underlying aims of such trends as the privatization of public space, gentrification, and design initiatives such as the New Urbanism. The course also examines efforts to position social equity at the center of sustainable urban development, including policies related to "smart growth" and the "creative economy". At the scale of the neighborhood, attention is directed to the unplanned city -- the "loose spaces" within which residents attempt to meet critical needs. Work with a local urban community-based organization is an option.