Seen From The South

Seminar Seminar History and Theory of Architecture VIII (063-0804-23)
Organizer: Chair of Prof. Avermaete
Lecturers: Dr. Cathelijne Nuijsink
Time: Fridays 13:45–15:30

Location: HIL E 4

Our understanding of how urban designers and architects can design cities is still largely affected by Western urban conditions and perspectives. The European city, in particular, with its steady and controlled growth, has served for a long time as the background against which new urban design methods and instruments are developed. As scholars who advocate a decentring and reframing of the widest conceptualisations of the urban have argued, urban design history is still based upon the dichotomy of “First World” model cities that generate new theories versus problematic “Third World” cities in need of correction. However, if our urban theorisations remain anchored in this Euro-American experience, we will be incapable of analysing and understanding the heterogeneity of urbanisms around the world.

This course sets out to overcome this asymmetrical ignorance by recalibrating the gaze. Course reading, lectures and in-class discussions centre around urban theories developed in cities in Latin-America, Africa and Asia to illustrate that urban design and urbanisation are not prerogatives of the Western world. The course will highlight alternative canons of knowledge which have been hitherto marginalised or dismissed because of (neo)colonial power structures, yet are crucial in understanding the design and production of cities. Through studying urban theories based on cities that develop according to other logics and generate different urban experiences, this course seeks to extend our knowledge of urban design, interrogate its assumptions, and enlarge our intellectual horizons to include a wider range of perspectives.

Tahrir Square in Cairo, 2012. ©J. Weeks/Voice of America


Seminar 01— 24.02.2023: Introduction
Seminar 02— 03.03.2023: Guest Dr. Soraya El Kahlaoui

Seminar 03— 10.03.2023: Guest Prof. Rita Velloso

Seminar 04— 17.03.2023: Guest Jorge Pérez Jaramillo Arq.
Seminar 05— 31.03.2023: Guest Prof. Hannah le Roux
Seminar 06— 21.04.2023: Guest Prof. Sucharita Sen

Seminar 07— 28.04.2023: Guest Dr. Deen Sharp

Seminar 08— 05.05.2023: Writing Workshop
Seminar 09— 12.05.2023: Final Presentations

Seminar 10— 19.05.2023: Submission of Final Group Assignment


Seminar 01: Introduction 

Required Reading: Jean and John Comaroff, “Theory from the South”
Further Reading: Jennifer Robinson, “Post-Colonializing Urban Studies”  Ananya Roy, “The 21st-Century Metropolis: New Geographies of Theory”  AbdouMaliq Simone, “Extending ‘Southern’ Urbanisms” 

Seminar 02: Urban Displacement, Informal Housing, Right to Housing, Post-Colonialism, Colonial Legacy, Decolonial Urban Planning

Required Reading: Soraya El Kahlaoui, “Claiming their Right to Possess”
Further Reading: Janet L. Abu-Lughod,” The Failure of Planning”  Karim Rouissi, “Housing for the Greatest Number”   “Koenraad Bogaert, “An Urban History of Neoliberal Projects in Morocco” 

Seminar 03: Southern Theory, Citizenship, Decolonial Feminisms, Subalternity, Agency, Resistance
Required Reading: Milton Santos, “Lugar e Valor do Individuo”
  / Milton Santos, “Lugar e Valor do Individuo” English translation by Matthew Rinaldi 
Further Reading: Raquel Barreto, “Amefricanity: The Black Feminism of Lélia Gonzalez”  Faranak Miraftab, “Invited and Invented Spaces of Participation”   AbdouMaliq Simone, “It's Just the City After All” 

Seminar 04: Multiscale Urbanism, Democracy, Cities for Life, Healthy Cities
Required Reading: Silvia Arango, “Espacios Públicos Lineales en las Ciudades Latinoamericanas”   / Silvia Arango, “Linear public spaces in Latin-American cities” English translation by Helen Pugh 
Further Reading: Jason Corburn et al., “The Transformation of Medellin into a ‘City for Life’ ”Bellalta, María. “On Social Urbanism,” and “The Origins of Power and Violence,” 2020  Jamarillo, Jorge Pérez. “Medellin and the Aburrá River: in Search of a City for Life,” 2020  

Seminar 05: Informal Public Space, People as Infrastructure, Shebeens, Coffee Carts
Required Reading: Christian Rogerson, “Feeding the Common People of Johannesburg, 1930-1962”  Political correspondent, “Café-the-Move-on Battle is Fought again”
Further Reading: Hannah Le Roux, “Bunna without Borders”  AbdouMaliq Simone, “People as Infrastructure: Intersecting Fragments in Johannesburg”  Coco Cachalia, “From Survival to Defiance, 1940-1980” 

Seminar 06: Urban Labour Spaces, Capital-Labour Relationship, Unemployment, Rural Distress, Gendered Spaces, Pandemic and its Effect on Labour in India
Required Reading: Swapna Banerjee-Guha, “Dividing Space and Labour: Spatial Dynamics of Multinational Corporations”
Further Reading: Sobin George and Shalini Sinha, “Labourscape and Labour Space in Post-Liberalised India”  Michael Levien, “The Land Question: Special Economic Zones and the Political Economy of Dispossession in India”  Atul Sood and Paaritosh Nath, “Labour Law Changes: Innocuous Mistakes or Sleight of Hand?” 

Seminar 07: Urban Informality, Postcolonialism (representation), Planetary Urbanization, Urban Conflict
Required Reading: Khalid Ziyada, “Public Plaza” 
Further Reading: Claire Panetta and Deen Sharp, “Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings”   Mona Harb, "How Urban Space Shapes Collective Action: The Lebanon Uprising of 2019"  Nizar Hassa, "The Power and Limits of Blocking Roads” 

Seminar 08: Writing Workshop