Proseminar in PUBLICS: Of the Public. In the Public. By the Public

Public, as a noun or adjective, is not confined to a single discipline, practice, narrative or theory. It is instead, a complicated construct that can either dictate the rules and regulations that order our cities, reveal, and disclose “fake news” or knowledge about the city, or include and exclude the right to occupy the city. With this in mind, this proseminar seeks to define what constitutes the Public, historically, spatially and socially: how, when, and why it becomes legible and desirable, who gets the right to create it and for whom; and whether different historical moments or political and/or spatial contexts enable, constrain, or transform the “social production of the public.” Among other things, through lectures, discussions, and debates we will interrogate what it means to be public; of the public; in the public; for the public, with the public, or by the public. Each proposition holds a different implication for design, democracy, processes, and populations when overlaid with the compounding issues of our time – economic and social inequality, climate change, population growth and decline, territorial conflicts, health and violence epidemics, aging infrastructures, and eroding trust in democratic governance. The course will draw from scholars, practitioners, and everyday folk to build foundational intelligence and provocative interpretations of social and spatial publics, and their potential to advance social justice.

Enrollment is limited to students in the GSD MDes Publics Domain.