Examines historical and modern conceptualizations of "'urban"', covering topics such as urban systems, urban forms, urban ecologies, urban planning, and urbanism. Investigates the integration of built forms; human interactions; and the environmental, social, political, and economic aspects of urban places.
The goal of this course is to fire students’ interest in urban planning and urban geography. On the one hand, this course will bring an understanding of what it means to be “urban” historically, and in the 21st century with a broad range of urban geographic concepts. We will look at key urban geographic concepts such as urban system, urban form, urban ecology, and urbanism. On the other hand, we will explore the purpose, practice, and theories of modern “planning” as an interdisciplinary field of study and practice. We will look at fairly well established planning paradigms followed by a number of relatively new planning approaches that redefine earlier planning concepts or call them into question all together. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to understand urban planning and geography ‘theory’ as a form of planning ‘practice’ (and vice versa).
We will investigate the integration of built forms, human interactions, and the environmental, social, political, economic aspects of urban places. Also, we will examine the internal workings of cities* viewed in a context of ‘globalization’, fragmentation, and difference through the urban perspective.
The ‘urban’ is often contested and dynamic, as people struggle to understand what is distinctive and fundamentally urban about the important social, political, economic, and cultural transformations of our time. However, there is no doubt that the urban is at the heart of many fields of inquiry. In order to discuss many issues in ‘urban planning and urban geography’, we will take the social-spatial dialectic, that is, the idea that society and space mutually condition each other, as a lens through which to view the inner workings of urban areas – how and where people work, play, raise families, engage in economic and political exchange, grow communities, and ‘shape’ cities.
The course will provide an opportunity to build upon for those who wish to pursue a career in planning, to study planning or related disciplines including geography, environmental studies, social work, civil engineering, law, political science, and sociology. Regardless of one’s choice of career, though, this class is designed to provide students with knowledge that they can use as active citizens in their communities.
Student learning goals
Students will critically examine the internal workings of cities
Students will explore various theory and practice of modern “planning” and “urban geography” as an interdisciplinary field of study and practice.
Students will have an opportunity to explore cities we live, study, engage, and work.
Students will develop their analytical ability to view many issues in urban planning by taking ‘socio-spatial dialectic,’ that acknowledges the mutual relationship between society and space.
Students will integrate the concepts and skills learned over the class, and apply them to a selected geographical area (e.g. City of Bothell).
General method of instruction
Lecture, class discussions and activities, and urban expedition
Students are expected to come to class prepared, having completed the assigned readings and generating critical questions. And, students are fully expected to participate in the class discussions and activities. Also, throughout the quarter, each student will volunteer for taking the lead on one of the readings at least once, and generating class discussions.
Class assignments and grading
Grades will be based on two exams (25% each), final project (20%), urban expedition (10%), critical reading summaries (10%) as well as their preparation for and participation in class discussions & discussion Lead (10%)