The Princeton Mellon Initiative is pleased to announce the following courses for Spring 2019.
Design and Planning for Climate Equity: Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation (ARC 384 / ENV 374)
Vulnerability to climate change is highly uneven; some people and places face greater risks than others. Efforts to adapt cities to those impacts impose uneven costs, frequently exacerbating existing inequalities. This course explores how urban planners and designers shape climate change adaptation. There will be three main components: 1) an introduction to foundational theories of uneven vulnerability and adaptation; 2) case studies of adaptation in cities around the world; and 3) a semester project focused on the equity implications and transformative potentials of a major regional adaptation proposal, the “Meadowlands Climate Park.” Click here for more information.
Spaces of Conflict and Everyday Life (ARC 383 / URB 383 / NES 382)
This course examines the relationship between architecture and politics by focusing on the role of the built environment in twentieth and twenty-first century conflicts. We will examine how settler colonialism shapes places, how sectarian conflicts divide cities and how protest movements utilize urban areas. The class will pay particular attention to the everyday practices of the people who inhabit, appropriate and transform these sites. We will look at a number of case studies from the Middle East, Africa, and North America, and embark on ethnographic investigations of specific sites in New York. Click here for more information.
Provisioning: Food, Architecture and Urbanism in the Global 20th Century (ARC 527 / ENV 527)
After the industrialization of agriculture, what does it mean to provision a population or a city? How can food systems be designed, how do we understand the intersections between bodily need, regulation, economies, and the work of architects and urbanists? What opportunities might designers and thinkers have to create better labor conditions and ecologies in our food systems, and to add pleasure to the daily ritual of consumption? In this course, we examine the long modern history of spaces and philosophies of food systems, and South-North relationships that emerge through these systems. Click here for more information.
The Arts of Urban Transition (ARC 380 / DAN 310 / THR 323 / URB 310)
Aaron Landsman and Aaron Shkuda
This course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, performance studies, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary "Rust Belt" cities. Issues addressed include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; the role of the artist in gentrification and creative placemaking; the importance of local history in art interventions; and assessing impacts of arts initiatives. A Spring break trip, and visits to key local sites, are included. Students will use data and methods from the course to produce final projects. Click here for more information.
Urban Studies Research Seminar (ARC 300 / URB 300 / HUM 300 / SLA 300)
Katherine Reischl and Aaron Shkuda
This seminar introduces urban studies research methods through two cultural capitals: Moscow and New York. Focused on communities and landmarks represented in historical accounts, literary works, art and film, we will travel through these cityscapes as cultural and mythological spaces - from the past to the present day. We will examine how standards of evidence shape what is knowable about cities and urban life, what "counts" as knowledge in urban studies, and how these different disciplinary perspectives construct and limit knowledge about cities as a result. Click here for more information.
U.S. Cities: New Policy for Old Places (WWS Research Seminar)
This seminar will survey core policy issues facing U.S. cities, equipping students to frame and complete significant, original research projects. Topics include: affordable housing, business development, migration and immigration, education and youth, employment, transportation, infrastructure, open space, urban design, cultural institutions, real estate and gentrification, environmental health, climate change, and policing. In addition to this overview approach, each student will research a chosen area of urban policy expertise, with the flexibility to define the scope--local, regional, or national.
Writing about Cities (URB 451 / HIS 451 / AMS 413)
Princeton’s monuments tell the story of the past. But whose stories, and whose past? These are questions both here at Princeton, as we discuss the role of slavery in the University’s history and Woodrow Wilson’s legacy on campus, and in larger national conversations about the presence of Confederate monuments and representation of historically marginalized groups. In this moment of national reckoning with public memory and public spaces, we can ask: How are places made? Who remembers the past, and how? And what stories do we want our public spaces to tell in the future? We’ll learn to read the built environment as a multiauthored text by engaging in cultural analysis, archival research, and geographic fieldwork. Second, we’ll speak with key people with Princeton’s libraries, art museum, architect’s office, and the Princeton & Slavery project. Finally, we’ll contribute to ongoing discussions about place and memory and develop proposals for new monuments for Princeton’s campus, which we’ll present to Princeton’s Campus Iconography Committee and community members at the end of the term. The course is open to all students and does not require a prior background in history or specialized training. Click here for more information.
The Zoning of Things (ARC 595)
V. Mitch McEwen
This course introduces students to zoning as an urbanistic tool related to representation, classification, and design. Readings investigate zoning as a form of both ideation and technology through texts that include Michel Foucault, Aristotle, Walter Benjamin, Christopher Alexander, Keller Easterling and Isabelle Stengers, as well as the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, video games, films, and canonical urban plans. Click here for more information.
Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure - Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl (ARC 492 / URB 492 / ENV 492)
As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the environmental challenges and potential of the exurban wasteland. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities focusing on the transformation of the Meadowlands, the large ecosystem of wetlands, into a State Park. Click here for more information.
Interdisciplinary Design Studio (ARC 205 / URB 205 / ENV 205 / LAS 225)
The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates. Click here for more information.
Introduction to Urban Studies (URB 201 / WWS 201 / SOC 203 / ARC 207)
M. Christine Boyer
This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from informal settlements, to immigration, terrorism, shrinking population, sprawl, rising seas, affordable housing, gentrification, smart cities. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai among others. Click here for more information.
Latin American Soundscapes (LAS 212 / URB 212)
The course offers an introduction to sound-making and listening across Latin America. It pays attention to music, noise, urban space, and technology. Students conduct ethnographic research and carry out field recordings in the New Jersey area. The course draws on anthropological, sociological, and historical accounts to explore the relationship between music and national symbols in Jamaica and Brazil; the tension between orality and literacy in local forms of speech; and the role of infrastructure, architecture, rituals and visual representations in urban soundscapes. Click here for more information.
Structures and the Urban Environment (ARC 262A / CEE 262A / EGR 262A / URB 262A / ART 262)
Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through critical analysis of major works, students are introduced to the methods of evaluating engineered structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual engineers through their basic calculations, their builder's mentality and their aesthetic imagination. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries thus demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment. Click here for more information.
Grassroots Power: Health and Social Change through Collective Action (URB 302 / GHP 303)
Jerry Nutor and Sebastian Ramirez
This seminar provides a practical and theoretical toolkit for students interested in health disparities and social change. We will consider how critical perspectives on health, violence and the environment can create the grounds for broader social change. Through a multidisciplinary focus, we will look at how social change is conceptualized and assessed by experts, beneficiaries, and critics. Drawing lessons from the ACT UP, Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights and #MeToo, for example, we will examine how individuals and groups use technology and organize to change the status quo, reimagining ideas of justice and equity from the ground up. Click here for more information.
Mexico City: Geography, Politics and Everyday Life (LAS 308 / URB 308 / ENV 345)
Explore the geography of Mexico City, one of the world's largest and most dynamic urban communities. We examine such topics as the city's rapid expansion during the 20th century, its architectural and aesthetic styles and transformations, its environments and environmental crises, and the shape of its contemporary political geographies. Field study in Mexico City during spring recess will have a special focus on social and spatial aspects of urban redevelopment and neighborhood change. Click here for more information.
Technology and the City: the Architectural Implications of the networked Urban Landscape (ARC 312 / URB 312)
The seminar explores the implications of technologically networked cities for architectural programming and the design of spaces and places, including: 1) how information technology is reshaping the nature of architectural programming and our ideas of spaces, places and community; 2) how programs for spaces, buildings, places, and the city are being transformed by the increasing mobility, fluidity, and "blurring" of activities in space; and 3) the history of ideas that shape our understanding of technology and urbanism, programming and architecture: the networked global city; the sentient city; smart cities; big data; hybrid place. Click here for more information.
The Art of Living (ARC 316 / ART 312 / URB 314 / FRE 312)
Water in the bathroom, gas in the kitchen, heat in the living room: what Western Europe and North America consider basic needs in obvious, purpose-based, domestic spaces are relatively new. All appeared between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. What dynamic between society and family that made the emergence of the apartment building possible? What motivated authorities and private developers to support public infrastructures, from sewage systems to street lights, gas and water networks? This course will provide students with tools to criticize the notion of domestic comfort, public efficiency, urbanism, and "progress." Click here for more information.
Rapping in Spanish: Urban Poetry in Latino Global Cities (SPA 365 / LAO 365 / URB 365)
Germán Labrador Méndez
This course studies contemporary urban poetry composed in Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic in cities such as New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Mexico D.F., Barcelona and Buenos Aires. It focuses on lyrical practices that combine sound and language in a wide range of literary expressions. Contemporary hip-hop poetry and rap lyrics are at the center of the course. Click here for more information.
Urban Futures and Scenarios (ARC 389 / URB 389)
Urbanism requires anticipatory and transdisciplinary thought about the future, which is uncertain by definition. Scenario planning and futures studies provide the techniques and conceptual frameworks for developing strategy in spaces of uncertainty. This seminar will provide an introduction to fundamental techniques and concepts from the practices of scenario planning and apply them to specific questions about the future of cities and metropolitan areas. Click here for more information.
Mapping the City: Cities and Cinema (ARC 525 / ART 524)
M. Christine Boyer
This course on cartographic cinema explores the digital film archive as a trove of images that can be re-appropriated, re-mixed, re-assembled into new ways of thinking about and imagining cities. Cutting a horizontal trajectory across cities --- New York, Tokyo, Vienna, Paris, Hong Kong, Lagos, Calcutta --- the cinema has captured the dynamic force of urban mutations and disruptions. It has also imposed a vertical axis of memories,confounding meaning and points of view, especially in cities of trauma. Click here for more information.