A special SCARP seminar – PLAN 548X: The Asian City – to be offered on Tuesday afternoons (2-5) this coming term. The intention of this seminar is to critically examine the processes by which urbanization is occurring in this rapidly urbanizing world region and to consider the various ways in which the social, economic and environmental changes associated with urbanization are problematized and represented. This course is designed in conjunction with a summer studio organized with CEPT University, one of India’s pre-eminent schools of planning and architecture, to be held in May 2015 in the cities of Ahmedabad and Pune.
Please see the description of the seminar below. Registration will be open shortly . In the meantime, please send me a message if you are interested or if you have questions. Please note that the seminar and the summer studio are organized as separate activities; taking the seminar does not oblige one to take the studio, though it is hoped that anyone from UBC attending the studio in India will have first taken the seminar. Details of the summer studio are now being developed with our collaborators at CEPT University and I will circulate this information when it is available. Both the seminar and the studio will be will be open to non-SCARP students depending upon space availability; please feel free to circulate this announcement to others whom you think would be interested.
School of Community & Regional Planning
The University of British Columbia
PLAN 548X, Section 001
SPECIAL SEMINAR: THE ASIAN CITY (3.0)
Term 2, 2014/15; Time: Tuesdays 2:00-5:00; Place: TBD
Office: 363 Choi; phone: 822 3288
Description. The purpose of this special seminar is two-fold: to expose students to the diverse, complex and sometimes contradictory interpretations of urbanization in Asian contexts and to prepare for a summer field studio to be undertaken in conjunction with CEPT University in the city of Pune, Maharashtra State, India. Although these two activities are thematically related – the seminar in Vancouver and the field studio in Pune – they are nonetheless run separately. Taking the seminar does not obligate the student to take part in the field studio, though it is hoped that any student wishing to join the field studio will have also attended the seminar.
One starting point for thinking comparatively about urbanism and urbanization is to critically consider the various means by which we group cities, not least of which is categorization by world region. While this tendency provides us with a convenient shorthand for thinking and talking about cities within their geo-cultural settings, it also conjures up the spectre of comparisons. Thus the Asian City as an ideal-typical formulation is evocative of particular strains of orientalist discourse, both academic and popular, but as well subsumes within it such an immense range of conditions and relations that one might also be convinced that ultimately there is no such thing as the Asian City.
The core of this special seminar is the critical analysis of the Asian City as both an ideal type, distinct from other such formulations as the Western City, and as a category that in practical terms needs to be uncomfortably stretched and molded in order to accommodate the diversity of actually existing urban conditions across the Asian continent. As such, the course will be organized around representational themes, urban socio-spatial elements and the current processes at play in shaping the region’s ongoing urban transitions. Representational themes include the postcolonial city and the world city, as well as the developmentalist city and the pathological city; elements include the central business district, the residential enclave and the export processing zone; current processes include the continuing rise of private capital and external pressures for globalized linkages as well as tendencies toward regulatory flexibility and informality.
Learning Objectives. Through this course, students are expected to gain familiarity with current debates and developments in urban theory, particularly as they apply to the ongoing urban transitions across Asia. Empirical grounding through the analysis of case studies will provide the opportunity for students to consider the application of theory for analysis and intervention in urban development planning. And for those students who wish to take the India field studio in May/June 2015 (details to be determined), extended on-the-ground exposure to the case of Pune will provide a physical context for applying the material from this course.
Requirements. Over the course of the term, students will be required to write two papers, a short, reflective essay on the nature of urban representation and how this influences comparative analysis, and a longer research paper which examines a representational theme, a socio-spatial element or a process in two or more Asian urban contexts. Students are also expected to read and discuss articles that are pertinent to understanding the theoretical and empirical analysis of urbanization and urbanism in Asia.
Evaluation. Grading for the course will be based upon the following:
30% Class participation
20% First paper
50% Final paper