Urbanism in Europe

This seminar analyzes the socio-spatial characteristics of the European city. Given the wide variety of urbanisms that exist on the European continent, we must of course first question whether the category \”European City\” exists. We make the working assumption that a European model of urbanism is a viable category insofar as it seems visibly distinguishable from the \”American City.\” The course offers a quasi-comparative exploration into the causal mechanisms that have produced the basic differences between the European and the US types of urbanism. Urban space is of course produced by a mix of economic, technological, institutional and cultural forces. The question of why European cities are different from their American counterparts is intriguing because certain factors, such as levels of economic development and access to technology, in most European countries and in the United States are fairly similar, yet the urban outcomes are quite different. This observation allows us to delve further into the two other main factors contributing to the production of space: the cultural and the institutional. The seminar explores the following hypothesis: the differences between the European and the American types of urbanism can to some extent be explained by the different ways in which European and American societies conceptualize the \”proper\” balance between the public and the private: public and private rights and responsibilities, public and private property, public and private spaces. The course discusses how these ideas shape cities both directly (through the way people construct and experience space) and indirectly (by shaping the institutions that seek to guide urban change, e.g., urban planning and policy at the local, regional, national and supra-national levels).Note regarding schedule: this course will most often end at 3 PM, but some weeks the course will last until 5 PM. The course meetings will not overlap with Professor Moneo\’s seminar.