Urban Theory Lab, Project-Based Seminar: Extreme Territories of Urbanization

In the early 1970s, Henri Lefebvre anticipated a situation of \”generalized urbanization\” in which an \”urban fabric\” would be extended to encompass the entire planet. More recently, geographer Edward Soja declared that \”every square inch of the world is urbanized to some degree.\” While the changing morphology and scale of urbanized regions has attracted considerable attention among urban scholars, the worldwide \”urban fabric\” postulated by Lefebvre and Soja remains underresearched and poorly understood. Building on the theory of extended urbanization that is now under development in the Urban Theory Lab-GSD, this project-based research seminar will test the Lefebvre-Soja hypothesis of complete urbanization with reference to several \”extreme territories\” that are normally not considered to contain urban elements–the Himalayas, the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi steppe, Siberia, the Sahara, Patagonia, the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere. Following some introductory readings to establish a shared analytical framework, teams of students follow a common theoretical, representational and methodological protocol to investigate one of the aforementioned zones. The seminar is the second in a multi-year series that will result in a UTL publication.

Enrollment process/prerequisites:
Students are given preference to enrollment, in this order, via the limited enrollment course lottery:
1. involved in the Urban Theory Lab
2. Doctoral students
3. enrolled in the ULE MDes track

4. Students enrolled in other MDes tracks and other students (who are not enrolled in studio) may also select this course in the limited-enrollment course lottery, but will be enrolled by permission of the instructor. These students should send Professor Brenner (via Maria Moran, mmoran@gsd.harvard.edu) an email describing their interest in this course/area of research.