Apr 14, 2021  
Catalogue 2020-2021 
Catalogue 2020-2021
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GEOG 303 - Advanced Debates in Urban Studies

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)

This seminar focuses on selected issues of importance in Urban Studies. Topics vary according to the instructor. The course is required of all majors and may be taken during the junior or senior years; it can be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Topic for 2020/21a:  PRESERVING WHOSE CITY?  Memory, Planning, and Placemaking. (Same as URBS 303 “Memoria” was a classical muse, symbolizing society’s existence in time and space, thereby linking the past, present, and future. In the 19th century, collective memory served “imagined communities” of nationalism, modernism, and urbanism. During the “memory boom” of the 20th century arose issues of genocide, holocaust, human rights, multiculturalism, historic preservation. Rather than being simple and transparent, collective memory has served a variety of interests and purposes.

Memory now fosters place identity, tourism, and symbolism in our globalized and urbanized world. Cities recognize heritage sites, historic districts, monuments and landmarks, memorials, and other special areas as strategies of placemaking – the social, spatial, and symbolic processes by which distinctive places emerge. While not a new phenomenon, placemaking now increasingly results from planning and branding campaigns by governmental, commercial, and community organizations.


This seminar focuses on the role of place memory in the planning, governance, and cultures of cities. We consider both official historic designations and grassroots efforts of “counter-memory” to recognize underappreciated and marginalized groups. Field trips examine the making of historic places in the Hudson Valley and New York City. After examining the theory and practice of historic placemaking, students carry out research on sites of their own choosing. Brian Godfrey.

Prerequisite(s): URBS 100  and URBS 200  or the equivalent, and permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

Course Format: CLS

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