The City in Theory: Urban Matters and Design

Seminar The City in Theory: Urban Matters and Design (052-0850-21)
Organizer: Chair for the History and Theory of Urban Design
Lecturers: Dr. Hans Teerds & Dr. Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat
Time: Fridays, 8:00 - 9:45
Location: ZOOM
 


Mural in the Los Angeles Down Town neighborhood entitled ‘Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto’, by the artist Faith 47; © Colabs

Meetings are held on Fridays, 8.00 - 10.00 via Zoom. The Link for the
Zoom-Meeting will be communicated via e-mail to the students enrolled
in the course.

It is often said that we live in an ‘urban age’: cities are the most common habitat for the inhabitants of the world, today. The ‘urban’ condition, however, cannot be generalized: it ranges from metropolises to suburban neighborhoods, and from shrinking (old industrial) cities to the new cities that prosper under the conditions of globalization. Nevertheless, the development of cities forms the topic of discussion among a wide range of people. Politicians, activists, anthropologists, philosophers, economists, citizens, policy makers all made explicit statements about the development of cities (how to deal with heritage, with nature, with slums) as much as about their functioning (public infrastructure, public spaces, the government of neighborhoods). Also architects and urban planners have made valuable contributions to these discussions, not only in writings but also in projects, proposals and designs. Due to their ability to read the material, functional, epistemological and phenomenological aspects of the city and their capacity to imagine alternative future scenarios, they have offered perspectives that consciously or unconsciously shape new urban environments, adapt to new societal developments, or offer better alternatives.

The ambition of this seminar-course ‘The City in Theory’ is to explore current discourses on (the future of) cities and urban developments, to understand how urban and architectural design is related to theory. During the course, a global perspective on thinking, reflecting, practicing and producing the city is developed, critically engaging in the ways cities are narrated, written, and presented. The aim of the course is to help students reflect upon their own position regarding architectural interventions in the urban fabric.

During the spring semester of 2021 the following topics will be discussed:
- Gentrification: the class-imposed dispossession of land value.
- Public Space: the ability of citizens to develop a public life;
The course starts with an introduction to urban theory from a global perspective, questioning the importance for architecture students to actively engage with the ‘urban’ context of most architectural assignments today. In the succeeding sessions, the course will address the theoretical and practical implications of the selected topics, each of whom will be addressed from different perspectives. Students of the course will not only engage with theoretical positions, but also will explore the implications of the theories upon the (transformation of the) city itself.


The handout to this course can be downloaded here .


SCHEDULE

Seminar 01 – Friday February 26, 2021 - Introduction

Compulsory Readings:

Futher Readings:

Slides:


Seminar 02 – Friday March 5, 2021 - Gentrification [Design]

Compulsory Readings:

Futher Readings:


Seminar 03 – Friday March 12, 2021 - Gentrification [Theory]

Compulsory Readings:

Futher Readings:


Seminar 04 – Friday March 19, 2021 - Gentrification [Drawing]

Seminar 05 – Friday April 16, 2021 - Public Space [Design]

Compulsory Readings:

Futher Readings:

Seminar 06 – Friday April 23, 2021 - Public Space: [Theory]

Compulsory Readings:

Futher Readings:


Seminar 07 – Friday April 30, 2021 - Public Space: [Drawing]

Seminar 08 - Friday May 7, 2021 - Round Table Discussion

Seminar 09 – Friday May 14, 2021 - Gentrification and Public Space

Compulsory Reading:


Seminar 10 – Friday May 21, 2021 - Final Presentation


Consultation hours
Due to the continually challenging circumstances of distance education, there is an opportunity to ask questions about the course via Zoom every week on Tuesdays at 10.00 am. To make use of this possibility, please send an email request to hans.teerds@gta.arch.ethz.ch.