Syllabus 2012

This course will explore the following questions:
* Why spatial justice?
* How can designers contribute to the political ideal of the Open City?
* What kinds of technologies and tools are available to architects in the pursuit of spatial justice?

Visual manifestos of thinking “small” in architecture have proliferated in recent years. MOMA’s Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement (2010) and United Nation’s Design with the Other 90% Cities, (2011) both acclaimed exhibitions that focused on the developing world, advocated small-scale, short-term design interventions that could dramatically transform the lives of disadvantaged locals. The counterpart to these exhibitions, Actions: What You Can Do With the City (CCA, 2009) and Strategies for Public Occupation (Storefront for Architecture, 2011) featured again “small” architectures, mostly for First World situations. What is common is a major shift in the architectural culture of the past decade that has paralleled the drifts of global economy: from thinking “Big” in the mid-1990s of economic boom, we have arrived at thinking “small” at this time of recession.

From “guerrilla,” “tactical,” to “DIY” urbanisms, all celebrate the agency of the individual or small groups to make modest spatial changes without the need for extensive investments or infrastructure. Ironically, such calls are conveniently in line with the emphasis on the neo-liberal subject’s individual agency and capability. DIY-activism is celebrated and emulated within the designer community but tactics are often coopted by governments and corporations, undermining their effectiveness for change.

What happens when ordinary people demand not so modest but copious and radical changes? The political protests of the past year from Cairo to New York City suggest a shift in broader political culture where ordinary people have claimed their rights as citizens via the spatial tactic of occupation. What do architects have to learn from these experiences? And what do architects have to offer to citizen claims on the “right to the city”?

Ed Soja (2011) and other critical geographers are challenging architects to do more than thinking small but to contribute to spatial justice. Spatial justice links social justice to space. In the past decade or so, earlier pioneering works by Henri Lefebvre (1968) and David Harvey (1973) have been followed by a new generation of theoretical explorations in political science, geography, and planning, leading for instance to the recognition that space is not simply a container of politics or to the reconceptualization of citizenship in relationship not to the nation but to the city, and with an emphasis on its spatial dimension (Holsten and Appadurai, 1996; Isin, 2002). Both justice and injustice can be spatially produced or may become visible in space. Injustice, however, is usually invisible.

Can architects mobilize their environmental design knowledge to make visible the “urban invisibles”? How can new technologies help with collecting spatial data, and what are the effective mechanisms of visualizing and disseminating findings?

Among other tools and tactics, we will consider mapping as one of the ways effectively used by activists, artists, and architects to tackle the question of urban invisibles.

Most designers consider mapping a secondary, unimaginative activity compared to the inventiveness of the design process and assume the objectivity of the maps on which designs are based. A map is necessarily a selection that has undergone visual editing for communication purposes.

Maps can be utopian projections on the future of a city as well as powerful critiques of planning practices (as in Situationists’ use of “psycho-geographical” maps). Mapping, considered as activity, rather than product, can be an active agent of intervention. It can not only highlight previously hidden issues but produce questions that are generative of new creative activity.

Weekly readings:

Sep 07      W1     Introduction

Sep 14     W2     The Right to the City

Case study: Parks and Plazas (city squares)

Harvey, David. “Henri Lefebvre’s Vision.” Chap. Preface In Rebel Cities: From the City to the Urban Revolution. ix-xviii. London, New York: Verso, 2012.

———–. “The Right to the City.” Chap. Preface In Rebel Cities: From the City to the Urban Revolution. 1-25. London, New York: Verso, 2012.

Lefebvre, Henri. “Right to the City (Le Droit À La Ville, 1968).” In Writings on Cities, edited by Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas. 63–181. New York: Blackwell, 1968.

Stickells, Lee. “The Right to the City: Rethinking Architecture’s Social Significance.” Architectural Theory Review 16, no. 3 (2011): 213-27.

Mitchell, Don. “From Free Speech to People’s Park: Locational Conflict and the Right to the City.” In The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space. 81-117. New York, London: Guilford Press, 2003.

Allen, Peter. “The End of Modernism? People’s Park, Urban Renewal, and Community Design.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 70, no. 3 (2011): 354-74.

Crantz, Galen. Politics of Park Design: A History of Urban Parks in America.  Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982.

Low, Setha. “Public Space and Protest.” Chap. 8 In On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture. 180-204. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.

———. “Public Space, Politics, Democracy.” Chap. 11 In On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture. 238-47. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.­

Sep 21     W3       The Politics of Public Space

Topic: Gated Communities

Kilian, Ted. “Public and Private, Power and Space.” In The Production of Public Space, edited by Andrew Light and Jonathan M. Smith. 115-34. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield 1998.

Low, Setha. “How Private Interests Take over Public Space: Zoning, Taxes, and Incorporation of Gated Communities.” In The Politics of Public Space, edited by Setha Low and Neil Smith. 81-103. London, New York: Routledge, 2006.

Low, Setha. Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America.  New York: Routledge, 2003.

Smith, Neil. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City.  New York: Routledge, 1996.

McKenzie, Evan. Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

Piper, Karen. “Revolution of the Thirsty.” In, Places (2012).

Sep 28            W4      Mapping the Unmapped

Topic: Squatter Settlements and Slums

Guest lecture:  Prof. Vikram Bhatt (Architecture)

AlSayyad, Nezar, and Ananya Roy. “Medieval Modernity: On Citizenship and Urbanism in a Global Era.” Space and Polity 10, no. 1 (April 2006): 1-20.

 Soja, Edward W. “Why Spatial? Why Justice? Why L.A.? Why Now?”. In Seeking Spatial Justice. 13-30. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Riis, Jacob A. How the Other Half Lives.  New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1890.

O’Donnell, Edward T. “Interpreting the Progressive Era: Pictures Vs. Words? Public History, Tolerance, and the Challenge of Jacob Riis,.” The Public Historian 26, no. 3 (2004): 7-26. (esp p 15)

Roy, Ananya. “Dreaming of Tombstones.” In Calcutta Requiem: Gender and the Politics of Poverty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.  [elibrary

Oct 2, Tuesday 4-6 pm: GIS for Architects Workshop: “Creating a basic map”
Geographic Information Center, Instructor: Pablo Arroyo (Geography)

Oct 7     W5      Computers for Spatial Justice

Guest lecture:  Kevin Manaugh (Planning)

Zeiger, Mimi. “Meet the Geodesigner.” Architect, the Magazine of the AIA  (2010).

Lobo, Daniel G. “Playing with Urban Life: How Simcity Influences Planning Culture.” In Space Time Play, Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level, edited by Friedrich von Borries, Steffen P. Walz, Matthias Bottger, Drew Davidson, Heather Kelley and Julian Kücklich. 206-13. Basel ; Boston: Birkhauser, 2007.

Oct 9    Tuesday, 4-6 pm: GIS for Architects Workshop: “Geo-database”
Geographic Information Center, Instructor: Pablo Arroyo

Oct 12     W6       Mappings I: The Agency of Mapping

Case: Architects’ use of information visualization, Lynch, Corner, MVRDV

Borges, Jorge Luis. “On Exactitude in Science (1946).” Translated by Andrew Hurley. In Collected Fictions. Penguin, 1998.

Corner, James. “The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention.” In Mappings, edited by Denis Cosgrove. 213-52. London: Reaktion, 1999.

Wood, Denis, John Fels, and John Krygier. “Counter-Mapping and the Death of Cartography.” In Rethinking the Power of Maps. 111-55. New York: Guilford Press,, 2010.

Amoroso, Nadia. “Graphic Integrity and Mapping Complexity, the Works of Lynch, Wurman, and Tufte.” In The Exposed City: Mapping the Urban Invisibles. 41-67. London: Routledge, 2010.

Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1960.

MVRDV. The Vertical Village: Individual, Informal, Intense. NAi Publishers, 2012.

Oct 19      W7      Mappings II: Psycho-geographical Maps

Case: Situationists and psycho-geographical maps

Sadler, Simon. “Formulary for a New Urbanism: Rethinking the City.” In The Situationist City. 69-103. Cambridge, MA; London, England: MIT Press, 1999.

Wollen, Peter. “Mappings: Situationists and/or Conceptualists.” In Rewriting Conceptual Art, , edited by Michael Newman and Jon Bird. 27-46. London: Reaktion, 1999.

Catherine Dignazio, “Art and Cartography” in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, V 1, Elsevier, 2009, 190–206.

Oct 26     W8     Mappings III:  Mapping the Urban Invisibles

Case: Sensable City Lab(MIT)’s “Realtime Rome”; Annette Kim’s Saigon’s Sidewalks

Hermant, Latour Bruno and Emilie. Paris Ville Invisible Paris: La Découverte-Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 1998.

Dodge, Martin, Rob Kitchin, and C. R. Perkins. The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation.  Chichester, West Sussex England ; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Abrams, Janet, and Peter Hall. Else/Where–Mapping: New Cartographies of Networks and Territories.  Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Design Institute, 2006.

Nov 02      W9     DIY Urbanisms I: Guerilla Urbanism

Case: Reclaiming the Streets; Rebar

Jeffrey Hou, “(Not) your Everyday Public Space,” in Jeffrey Hou, ed., Insurgent Public Space: Guerilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities (Routledge, 2010): 1-17

Chase, John, Margaret Crawford, and John Kaliski. Everyday Urbanism. Expanded ed.  New York: Monacelli Press, 2008.

Bell, Bryan, and Katie Wakeford. Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism.  New York: Metropolis Books, 2008.

Architecture for Humanity (Organization). Design Like You Give a Damn : Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises.  New York, NY: Metropolis Books, 2006.

Smith, Cynthia E., ed. Design for the Other 90% Cities New York: Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2011.

Lepik, Andres, ed. Small Scale, Big Change. New York: MOMA, 2010.

Nov 09     W10     DIY Urbanisms II: Interventions

Case: The Seperation Wall, Occupy Movements

Eidelman, Ronen. “The Seperation Wall in Palestine: Artists Love to Hate It,.” In Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas, and Possibilities edited by Begüm Özden Firat and Aylin Kuryel. 95-114. Amsterdam ; New York, NY: Rodopi, 2011.

Becker, Jochen, Mirko Zardini, Giovanna Borasi, and Centre canadien d’architecture. Actions: What You Can Do with the City Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture and SUN, 2008.

Thompson, Nato, and Gregory Sholette. The Interventionists: Users’ Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.

Martin, Reinhold. “Occupy: What Architects Can Do.” Places  (2011).

Martin, Reinhold. “Occupy: The Day After.” Places  (2011).

Zeiger, Mimi. “The Interventionist’s Toolkit: Project, Map, Occupy.” Places  (2012).

Lydon, Mike, Dan Bartman, Ronald Woudstra, and Aurash Khawarzad. Tactical Urbanism: Short Term Action, Long Term Change.

Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy N 1 (Dec 2011)

Weizman, Eyal. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation.  London ; New York: Verso, 2007.

Nov 16     W11     Open City

Guest lecture: Prof. Renee Sieber (Geography)

Introductory texts by Brugmanns, George and Rieniets, Tim. In  Open City: Designing Coexistence, edited by Tim Rieniets, Jennifer Sigler and Kees Christiaanse. Catalogue of the 4th Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. 11-23. Amsterdam: SUN Architecture, 2009.

Sennett, Richard. “The Open City.” In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Dejan Sudjic. 290-297. London: Phaidon 2008.

Ipsen, Detlev. “The Socio-spatial Conditions of the Open City: A Theoretical Sketch.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.”  29, no. 1 (Sep 2005): 644-53.

Nov 23            W12    Student project presentations with invited guests

Guest Lecture: Mirko Zardini (CCA)

Nov 30            W13    Student project presentations & overview

Dec 7               Final submissions via Dropbox. [CMT Proposal presentations]


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