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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cheryl R Gilge
URBDP 598
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Systematic study of specialized subject matter. Topics vary for each quarter, depending upon current interest and needs, and are announced in the preceding quarter. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Class description

"Provisional, informal, guerrilla, insurgent, DIY, hands-on, unsolicited, unplanned, participatory, tactical..." These are words of the opening salvo of a recent architecture exhibit at the 2012 Venice Biennale. This course explores the intersection of the urban environment, the creative spatial practices that materially affect it, the citizens that inhabit it and their role within it. Tracing out a series of interventions, strategies and tactics, we will investigate the ways in which the creative design disciplines positively impact the city, expound on the importance of the ‘minimal gesture’ and most importantly, locate ‘agency’ for the individual inhabitant. Throughout the course, we will continually draw from scholarship from the design disciplines, the humanities and social sciences as well as the material practices that emerge, with an emphasis on the role New Media can play in facilitating such engagements. Each week, we will focus on particular thematic spatial condition through a series of case studies and relevant scholarship. Throughout, we will explore notions of subjectivity and agency through philosophical texts in order to locate ourselves within the larger conversation of what it means to ‘be’ in the world today. The primary goal of the class will be to formulate notions of praxis: engaging theory and material practices, in order to sustain an informed discussion and lively debate about our role in society as actors and agents facilitating change.

Student learning goals

Learn various strategies for engaging the Built Environment through conceptual framework, rather than disciplinary perspectives

Deepen knowledge of historical trajectory of urban interventions

Develop understanding of theoretical perspectives of agency

Exploration of texts that engage socio-cultural and philosophical implications that often result from spatial practices

General method of instruction

Course meetings will be divided up between lecture component and general discussion of case studies and readings.

Recommended preparation

General interest in the built environment, desire to affect change, and curiosity about pursuing alternative, creative strategies to achieve it.

Class assignments and grading

Active participation is key; reading responses for each class meeting; collaborative blog; group project that proposes intervention based on themed topics.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cheryl R Gilge
Date: 04/29/2013