Histories and Theories of Urban Interventions

This course provides an introduction to the critical histories and theories of urban intervention and formation, and to the disciplinary practices of urban planning and design and the technological, institutional, and political contexts in which they operate over time and across cultures and geographies. Beginning in the mid 19th century, the course uses historical and theoretical readings and case studies of specific design and planning projects to ground theoretical ideas, modes and models of practice in the contexts in which those ideas and practices emerged and operated. The emphasis is on plural histories and plural readings of urban design and planning practices through multiple theoretical and critical lenses. The objectives are to introduce students to key episodes of transformation and paradigm shift that provide insight into the processes, debates, and projects that have shaped the urban planning and design fields over the past 150 years, and to situate those debates in larger discourses that foreground issues of social equity and identity, power, privilege, race, and gender. It connects the historical narrative to contemporary transformations and to the challenges presented by emergent urban problems, crises, and struggles across places, territories and scales.

Topics include: industrialization and capitalist urbanization; the planned metropolis; Garden City; City Beautiful; the modernist city; Chicago School; housing; redlining; racialization + suburbanization;
regionalism; the socialist city; CIAM and urban design; urban renewal, Civil Rights and the struggle for the city; advocacy planning; withdrawal of the state; communicative planning; New Urbanism; The Just City; the contradictions of Informality; seeing from the South; planning for climate change; migration; current conditions, issues + strategies.

The course is required for MUP and MAUD GSD students. It is open without prerequisites to all GSD students and by permission to students in other parts of the university.

Course structure
The course will consists of two weekly lectures (50-60 min each) which will be prerecorded to be viewed asynchronously, and one weekly live (synchronous) discussion session (60 min), requiring student attendance. Flexible synchronous section meetings every two weeks will be adjusted to time zones.

This course will be taught in person beginning the week of January 24th.