cities -- urbanity -- design
Title: URBAN WORLDS
Number: ULEC 2620
Type: Undergraduate lecture
This course considers the many ways that we build, adapt, and live together in cities. With the majority of the world's population inhabiting urbanized areas, cities have become a crucial stage on which human social relations are made. At the same time, cities are produced through multiple imaginaries, as people struggle to define, explain, and mediate the complexity of urban life. Thus, cities unfold at the intersection of the material and the ideal, as the productive tensions between reality and imagination drive urban change.
And yet, we experience cities in incredibly varied ways. We bring our own personal and cultural values to everyday encounters with one another, even as political and economic forces sort us into uneven social relations. A fundamental experience of city life, then, is the process by which we navigate between our dreams and desires, on the one hand, and the barriers and deprivations of inequality on the other. This process results in a constant struggle for the city. We examine this struggle from the street corner to the globe and in between. Along the way, we pose several key questions: how are cities made, and for whom? How do we inhabit them? What are the filaments that hold us together? What forces and phantasms tear us apart? How might we carve out new social relations and imagine new spaces of transformation?