Power & Place: Culture and Conflict in the Built Environment

This course studies and analyzes processes and expressions of power in urban form and design in the North American built environment. Focusing on topics of identity and differentiation that are expressed in spatial interventions across history, this course surveys historic and contemporary cultural conflicts that emerged from private developments and regulatory processes, many of which result, intentionally or unintentionally in patterns of social exclusion.

The course will develop ways of thinking, research methodologies (familiarity with original historical sources and databases) and analytical means leading to modes of interpretation associated with places where power and politics have a critical but often undisclosed influence in shaping the built environment. The goal of the course is to foster an understanding of urban ethics and political awareness that can be applied to any place, leading to a broader understanding of the dimensions of the cultural ecology of a place over time.