Why Cities Flourish and Fail

HNR 360 - Why Cities Flourish and Fail

MySlice Info:

Term: Fall 2019
Class #: 12150
Section: M002
Credits: 3

Schramm, Carl

Counts toward:
HNR Soc Sci, Interdisciplinary

Course Time(s):
MW 02:15pm-03:35pm


Course Description:

As of 2010, over half of the world's populations lives in cities. This seminar explores the phenomenon of the life cycles of cities, and examines the dynamics of urban expansion and decay through literature and field studies. Students will investigate the life cycle of three American cities: Buffalo, New York and Detroit. The ongoing histories of London, Venice and Rome will be referenced. The emergence of the Silicon Valley as an iconic model of growth based on the interplay of entrepreneurs, Stanford/Berkeley, and venture capital will be studied. The rise of the city-state Singapore will be examined as will be the rapid growth in Chengdu -- China provides a vivid example of city planning centered on economic development, which will be studied in some depth.

The objective of the course is to present the student with a rigorous intellectual examination of one of the most important aspects of how civilization is organized. Aspects of urban dynamics that will be explored include immigration, the economic ecology at various times in the city's history, innovation and the role of universities and libraries, improvements in public health and the role of hospitals, secular trends in architecture and each city's aesthetics and their relation to factors such as public land use planning, and city finances and larger state/national tax and trade policy.

The course will also examine changes in civic morality including the correlates of civic corruption. We will explore historical tensions among city elites and democratizing forces, and examine several visual models of historic cityscapes. The city as the subject of political art will be explored as well. One novel on transitional city life will be considered. The course requires one term paper or a studio project. Students interested in architecture, history, art history, business history, public policy, urban planning, literature and economics will find the course of particular interest.