In this seminar, students analyze the interplay of social, economic, and political forces that shape the physical form and social dynamics of New York City. Students will research, investigate, propose, and defend projects to address contemporary issues facing the city and its residents.
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 learn to conduct in-depth study of important urban policy and planning issues facing the city, such as homelessness, gentrification, race and racism, education, public health, approaches to criminal justice, mass transit and vehicular congestion, urban ecological preservation and sustainability, environmental justice, and economic development. By studying agents of change – federal, state, and city governments, public authorities, private sector interests, community boards, nonprofit organizations, community activists, and others – students come to appreciate the roles people take or are given in decision-making processes and the ways these roles are affected by historical and contemporary patterns of access, inequality, and the mechanisms of power. Culminating projects of this seminar are presented in a cross-campus conference setting, with small groups of students explaining their investigations of crucial issues affecting the future of New York City, and proposals for addressing them.
- Use primary sources, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as scholarly secondary sources, site visits, case studies, and research projects, to understand historical causes of current problems, including the roles of government, community institutions, public policy, and structural inequities.
- Develop the ability to engage in key contemporary debates that shape the future of the city through in- class discussions and presentations, drawing on in-depth investigations and embracing complex multi- faceted analysis.
- Learn to communicate complex ideas in simple and understandable terms, using multiple formats, such as written reports of varying length, professional-quality visual presentations, public speaking, and web- based formats.
- Develop, propose, and defend viable solutions to the city’s challenges.