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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Linda Ishem
T URB 301
Tacoma Campus

The Urban Condition

An overview of the city as a place of residence, commerce, and industry. Consideration is given to urban form and function. Social, economic, and political factors affecting urban life and development are discussed. Issues related to social justice and equity are emphasized.

Class description

This survey course provides a multidisciplinary introduction to urban studies. The modern city is a complex politically and socially contested space. To explore the contours and contradictions of urban life we will examine classic theories and recent discourses as we seek to answer questions like “how and why cities develop and change, and who lives in cities why and how?” We will read works by sociologists, geographers, historians, anthropologists and political scientists paying close attention to power differentials embedded in race, class, and gender. The class will examine how forces such as industrialization, emigration, suburbanization, economic restructuring, and social stratification affect the evolution of American cities. Most importantly we will use Tacoma and the South Puget Sound metropolitan area as laboratories to examine course themes. Chief among local issues will be an examination of Tacoma’s cultural tourism development strategy.

Student learning goals

students will become familiar with the methodology and major theories of the urban experience; • learn to compare, contrast, and apply urban theories to the world around them; • learn to think critically about how demographic attributes affect the experiences of urban residents; and • develop critical reading, writing, teamwork, and presentation skills.

learn to compare, contrast, and apply urban theories to the world around them; • learn to think critically about how demographic attributes affect the experiences of urban residents; and • develop critical reading, writing, teamwork, and presentation skills.

learn to think critically about how demographic attributes affect the experiences of urban residents; and

develop critical reading, writing, teamwork, and presentation skills.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Linda Ishem
Date: 06/30/2010