The Culture of Cities

During the 19th century, as dramatic urban transformations rendered many European and American cities nearly unrecognizable, a new urban discourse emerged. Urban critics struggled to understand the nature of this altered environment and to analyze the unique qualities of urban life. This seminar will address this literature historically and thematically, reading a selection of key texts ranging from Engel\’s description of Manchester to Simmel\’s essay, \”The Metropolis and Mental Life,\” and from Lewis Mumford\’s idealistic conceptualization of the city to the Situationist International and Jane Jacob\’s biting critiques of modernist urbanism.