Inclusive Cities in the Global South: From Development Narratives to Urban Forms

This seminar examines the notions of social inclusion and exclusion in cities according to different categories, including households’ income (wealthy and poor), identity (gender, race, ethnicity, and ableness), and location (formal and informal neighborhoods). It will trace the different narratives that have informed these categories as well as the ones that aimed to purposefully transcend them. The Seminar will also explore how these narratives have led to specific spatial configurations and urban policies, which in their turn, have often enabled social behaviors that reinforced these same narratives. The Seminar will mostly focus on how these ideas are currently shaping cities of the developing world, following their lineage from theories of social justice of to the urban development theories of our time.

It is important to underscore that this course explores social inclusion both as a process and as a goal of urban projects and policies. In that regard, it aims to underscore the role of communities, social movements, and formal institutions in the promotion of -or opposition- inclusive cities. While the focus is on low and middle-income country contexts, US examples are included as part of the global lens and the search for differences and commonalities in urban trajectories.

Also, the course draws writings from a wide diverse range of disciplinary and explanatory approaches, including philosophical inquiry, law, sociology, urban planning theory, economics, and political science. Likewise, it includes analytical papers from academia, normative publications from non-government agencies, and project evaluation reports from multilateral development institutions. The course will take advantage of these different approaches in the class readings to discuss semantic issues and communication strategies in the construction of arguments promoting inclusive cities.

Course Objectives
1. Think critically about notions of justice and fairness in the realm of urban spaces and urban policies.
2. Identify the narratives on inclusion and exclusion in cities, particularly according to categories based on household income, individual identity, and place of residence.
3. Understand how these narratives impact the way designers, urban planners, and policymakers conceptualize urban spaces and urban systems.
4. Learn about the way key institutions, social actors, and social movements interact for promoting inclusive cities.
5. Acquire fluency in, and think critically about, illustrative recent urban projects and policies implemented toward social inclusion from cities across the globe.
6. Familiarize with diverse methodological and disciplinary approaches in the current global conversation on questions of urban inclusion.
7. Think strategically about methodology, tone, and methods in writings toward promoting inclusive cities
8. Think innovatively about alternative planning and policy approaches for inclusive cities.

Due to the Labor Day holiday, this course will meet for the first time at its standard time on Wednesday, August 31st.