This course has two main purposes. First, it seeks to familiarize students with the methods and arguments central to the writing of the recent urban, suburban, and metropolitan history. Second, it aims to examine the various ways that critics, architects, planners, social scientists and others that we can lump into the category of “urbanists” have sought to know, change, and improve the urban built environment and urban social life over the course of the twentieth century, as well as the effects of their ideas as they have played out in the spaces of metropolitan America.
The course has been organized around four core questions:
1. How have “the urban” and the metropolitan been understood at various points in the 20th century?
2. In what ways have those understandings assumed spatial form?
3. How has urban and suburban development been pursued and designed?
4. How has urbanization shaped politics at the local, national, and global level?