Having examined a variety of important aspects of the past and present of New York City in the previous seminars, in this fourth and final seminar students analyze the interplay of social, economic, and political forces that shape the physical form and social dynamics of New York City. Students study important historical moments in social policy formation, such as the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and welfare reform, and focuses on important instances of development opportunities and challenges, from Robert Moses’s highway system to a new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. By studying institutional agents of change – federal, state, and city governments, public authorities, private sector interests, community boards, and grassroots organizations – students come to appreciate the roles people take or are given the decision-making processes of government and the ways in which these roles are affected by patterns of access, inequality, and the operations of power. The culminating projects of this seminar are small-group presentations, in an academic conference setting, of students’ investigations of crucial issues affecting the future of New York City.
July 22, 2010