11.302J / 4.235J Urban Design Politics

Spring 2003

Anti-war protest in Washington, DC.
Anti-war protesters march toward the Capitol in Washington, DC, because of the building's political symbolism. (Photograph courtesy of Loretta W. Prencipe, ?? 2006-2007. All rights reserved.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete list of readings as well as the course assignments.

Course Description

This is a seminar about the ways that urban design contributes to the distribution of political power and resources in cities. "Design," in this view, is not some value-neutral aesthetic applied to efforts at urban development but is, instead, an integral part of the motives driving that development. The class investigates the nature of the relations between built form and political purposes through close examination of a wide variety of situations where public and private sector design commissions and planning processes have been clearly motivated by political pressures, as well as situations where the political assumptions have remained more tacit. We will explore cases from both developed and developing countries.
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Prof. Lawrence Vale

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2.5 hours / session