Birth of the Modern World
What makes a place urban? This is a fascinating question on its own, and one that we will discuss in the course. Yet, it becomes even more interesting when we also consider that urbanization is an identifiable challenge globally. The United Nations estimates that about 67 percent of the world’s population will be living in an urban place by 2050. What challenges will accommodating so much of the global population in non-food producing spaces present?
In the introduction to their groundbreaking text City and Environment Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres (2006, 1-2) succinctly establish the foundation for this course in urban studies when they identify how they view their object of study: “… cities are as much about the everyday life of their residents as they are about monuments.” Cities encapsulate within their geographic extent most elements of everyday human life from the home, to the market, to the workplace and spaces for leisure. Yet, within urban spaces nothing is simple. Cities are vastly complex, and thus captivating, entities to study from both a scholarly and popular perspective. This course will provide merely a sampling of the various ways in which we can approach the city as scholars and will make attempts to look at the diversity of within and between cities on a global scale. Topics we will consider include urban morphology and theory, migration, public space, the environment and sustainability, rapid urbanization, and urban politics. The study of cities is inherently interdisciplinary and as a result we will be exploring scholarship from geography, history, sociology, along with other disciplines. This course is intended to be a broad introduction to the study of urban spaces.
Students will describe the relationship between cities and their hinterlands.
Students will compare and contrast historical and modern urban processes.
Students will investigate the variety of urban challenges globally.
Students will apply theoretical concepts from readings and class discussions to the landscape of real cities.
Students will write for a public audience on key themes in urban studies.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
This course will proceed primarily as a seminar, meeting for two 2-hour sessions per week. Each class will center on discussion of the assigned reading, with introductory remarks or a short lecture by the instructor. The instructor may also provide reading questions in advance of a class. Students will be writing during seminars in response to questions about the reading. Additionally students will write a short observation-based essay, complete an urban data analysis assignment, keep a “photo journal,” and develop a walking tour essay. For more information on these see “Assessments,” below.
Class participation (15%)
Blog connecting course concepts to the actual landscape (15%). Students will take photos of urban landscapes (photo quality is not graded) and write a few sentences about how that scene is illustrating a topic from class.
Short Essays 2 @ 15% each
Final research project: Urban Walking Tour (40%). Students will use this opportunity to connect concepts from the course to develop a coherent tour through The Hague that educates participants about how each stop is illustrative of ideas in Urban Studies.
There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.
This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading for the first class: Mumford, Lewis. 1937. “What is a City?” (The text will be made available to students the week before the course begins).