Week One: What is a City?

Week Two: Utopia(s)

  • David Pinder, Visions of the City, chapters 1-4. 
  • Interview with David Pinder online via Bad Subjects.

Week Four: Policing Space

For further reading and research:

Week Five: Parks & Plazas

Week Six: Space & Housing

Week Seven: Gentrification, Part I

  • Neil Smith, Chapter Two in The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City.

Week Eight: Gentrification, Part II

REMINDER: On March 19th we will be joined by Ronit Bezalel, a Chicago filmmaker who will be giving a short talk and presenting her film Voices of Cabrini. Since our normal room lacks the proper media equipment, our class will be held here: 623 S. Wabash, Room 203, 12:30-3:20.

Week Eleven: Urban Waste & Reclamation

Week Twelve: NO CLASS

  • No class due to professor illness.

Week Thirteen: Automobility & Driving

Week Fourteen: Critical Mobility

For further reading and research:

Week Fifteen: Mapping the Future?

For further reading/research on maps and mapping:

Week Sixteen: Presentations

  • This is the last day of class! Our time will be reserved for final paper presentations.
  • Your presentation will not be graded but it will count towards your overall participation grade. So make sure you prepare something that is informative, clear and concise (around five minutes). If you need me to reserve a TV or any other equipment for the day (i.e. a computer, projector and/or stereo) please let me know a week in advance so that I can make the proper arrangements.

Background for Your Pscyhogeographical Walks

Before you take part in a dérive with your group, you should make sure to read these articles:
Some inspiration for the assignment (from "Drifting with the Situationist International")...

An example of a situation-creating technique is the dérive. The dérive is the first step toward an urban praxis. It is a stroll through the city by several people who are out to understand the "psychogeographical articulation of the modern city." The strollers attempt an interpretive reading of the city, an architectural undcrstanding. They look at the city as a special instance of repressed desires. At the same time, they engage in "playful reconstructive behavior." Together they turn the city around. They see in the city unifying and empowering possibilities in place of the present framentation and pacification. This "turning around" or détournment is a key strategic concept of the Situationists. Détournment is a dialectical tool. It is an "insurrectionalstyle" by which a past form is used to show its own inherent untruth-- an untruth masked by ideology. It can be applied to billboards, to written texts, to films, to cartoons, etc., as well as to city spaces. Marx used it when he "turned Hegel on his head." He used the dialectic in the study of history to expose the ideological nature of Hegel's idealism. The Situationists use détoumement to demonstrate the scandalous poverty of everyday life despite the plenty of commodities. They attempted to demonstrate the contrast between what life presently is and what it could be. They wanted to rupture the spell of the ideology of our commodified consumer society so that our repressed desires of a more authentic nature could come forward. The situation is based on liberated desires rather than alienated ones. What these desires are cannot be stated a priori. They will emerge in the revolutionary process of situation-creation, of détournment . Presumably, communality, unification, and public urban space will emerge as more desirable than commodification, fragmentation, and privatization.