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    Vassar College
  Oct 17, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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URBS 340 - Advanced Urban and Regional Studies

1 unit(s)
(Same as GEOG 340 ) Topic for 2017/18a: Restless Cities: Innovation and social conflicts. In recent years, cities in the United States have become renewed centers of  experimentation and transformation, of marked innovation and socio-political conflict. How and why do these urban innovations emerge, and how do they manifest the changing role of the state, capital, and the dynamic relationships between the local, national, and global? This course explores these questions through a variety of case studies ranging from social movements to social enterprises and the gig economy of AirBnB and Uber. In doing so, we explore a theoretical literature on cities and networks, socio-ecological justice, and especially the geographical concept of scale, which illuminates many of these processes. We evaluate the morality of scale itself: in an era defined by multiple intersecting crises of ecology, democracy, and economy, are local and neighborhood-scale political projects inherently more just and democratic than national ones? Can neighborhood efforts like community gardening and organizing have national and global impacts? Is “small” really beautiful and “big” really evil? We survey the geographic literatures on scale, as well as economic sociology and actor network theory, drawing on advanced theoretical debates on scale. Evan Casper-Futterman.

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