Divided We Sprawl: Suburbs and Beyond
View Additional Course Information:
Including faculty, schedule, credits, CRN and location.
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NANT 3629
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Urban History, Theory & Criticism
- Cities & Urbanization
With housing developments bordering dairy farms, office parks adjoining urban centers, and New Urbanism projects flanking strip malls, it is difficult to demarcate suburban, urban, and rural. In their article Divided We Sprawl, Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley have suggested that we shed these divides and imagine ourselves as part of a metropolitan whole. At stake are not just interrelated problems of transportation, housing, education, jobs, and the environment. With frantic privacy winning out over spontaneous public life, what becomes of our ability to mingle in crowds and encounter difference, and collectively tackle societal problems? This course explores the history, culture, politics, and design of metropolitan centers from the vantage point of the suburbs. Beginning with the origin of the Anglo-American suburb in Britain and its colonies in the 18th century, we work our way up to contemporary debates over gated communities, the foreclosure crisis, and efforts to retrofit suburbia for the new millennium. We examine tensions between public and private in spaces ranging from living rooms and lawns to highways and malls. Texts include historical accounts, ethnographic descriptions, sociological commentaries, popular culture parodies, and period films.