Urban Sociology: Reading the City

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Over 75 percent of Americans and 40 percent of the world's population live in urban areas. These figures are growing.  Consequently, the city has become one of the most important and powerful social phenomenon of modern times.  It is therefore imperative that we come to understand its influence on our lives. This course will provide a basic introduction to urban life and culture from the framework of urban sociology. Classic and modern theories of urbanization and urbanism will be examined in order to understand the historical growth, decline and renewed growth of cities, along with the lifestyles they evoke. While the main frame is a sociological one, perspectives taken from urban planners, architects, landscape architects, artists, political economists, and writers will also be incorporated as will economic and political dynamics and their role in creating and resolving problems. Most importantly, we will consider the effect that urban environments have on our social interactions and daily lives.

Credits: 3.00

Course Code: SS 346

Instructor(s): Gail Satler

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.