ARCH 3135: City Literacy - Coronavirus and the City

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ARCH 3135. City Literacy: What Makes a Great City Great
Institute Social Science Credit

CRN 57421
Sabir Khan, Instructor

Early Summer Session. MTWR 3:30-5:40. Synchronous
Open to ALL majors

Three basic questions provide the framework for this course:

  • What makes a great city – its physical form or the life it affords its inhabitants
  • How do cities come to be – their origins and their continued development?
  • Who is the city for – for the rich and powerful or for everybody?

Each emphasizes a particular way of understanding cities:

  • Perception and experience: what makes us, as individuals, citizens, and visitors, prefer one city over another; what makes city life in one city better over another?
  • History and theory: how are cities conceived, planned, constructed and practiced?
  • Ethics: who is the city planned for; whose perceptions and experiences matter?

The lectures draw primarily from Barcelona, an exemplary city that addresses all the questions above. The lectures and discussions will also draw from other cities, like Berlin and Paris; students will be encouraged to bring to the class their experiences and knowledge of cities in Asia, in Latin America, and in Africa. To ground the discussion, we will also look at American cities, Atlanta and San Francisco for example.

There are two deliverables:

  • Lecture and Discussion Notes – takeaways from the lectures and readings
  • Research Journal – on a topic chosen by the student and explored online within the umbrella topic assigned to the class.

The starter portal for this research is the website CityLab. Its content is organized into five sections: Design; Transportation; Environment; Equity; Life. The proposed umbrella topic for the class is Coronavirus and the City.

A quick look at the site will show how the pandemic effects every dimension of cities and city life: from equity to privacy, from social protocols to technical specifications. Give it a look now.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Kayleigh Haskin
  • Created: 04/20/2020
  • Modified By: Kayleigh Haskin
  • Modified: 04/20/2020


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