URBS 220

Urban Theories and Methods

This course will draw on multiple writings on Urban Theory to construct a panorama of philosophical approaches to the city. The primary goal is for students to develop intellectual and analytical tools to be able to critically understand various urban forms, experiences and representations of the city, both globally and around the Bay Area. A basic premise for the course is that theory cannot be understood without praxis, so students will explore, by learning and applying specific research methods, how ideas both shape cities and are created by them. We will explore how the work of architects and urban planners generates human environments but also how other forces such as capital and social cohesion contribute to urban frameworks throughout the world. Students will have access to a textbook, Philosophy and the City by Sharon Maegher, to guide their explorations but they will also read several essays and chapters by significant figures in urban theory in order to see how the field has evolved and what its most salient characteristics are. In order to build a strong conceptual understanding of the city, students will explore sections on the Representations of the City, The Ideal City, The City and Social Justice, the City as Lived Experience, Urban Dialectics, and the Global City as part of this course. Through in-depth reading, lectures, discussions, and walking tours, students will develop the skills to analyze, critique, and reconsider cities and the way that they continue to evolve today.

Course Teachers