The Urban Studies Program teaches students to analyze the city, urban life, and urbanization through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Students learn where cities come from, how they grow, thrive, and decline, how they are organized, and how to construct meaningful, inclusive, secure, and sustainable places. The curriculum examines how urban problems arise, how they have been previously addressed, and how to plan cities of the future.Concentrators enjoy the breadth of courses in American Studies, economics, history, literature, history of art and architecture, political science, sociology, and planning as well as provide in-depth courses integrating those perspectives. We introduce the fundamentals of Urban Studies scholarship as well as intense examination of an urban problem in focused seminars. These advanced seminars offer opportunities to write extensive and synthetic interdisciplinary analyses that serve as capstones to the concentration.The program’s 10-course curriculum provides sufficient flexibility to allow students to pursue specific urban interests or to take courses in urban focus areas of Built Environment; Humanities; Social Sciences; and Sustainable Urbanism. The Program insures that students master at least one basic research methodology and perform research or fieldwork projects, which may result in an honors thesis. Fieldwork training includes working with local agencies and nonprofit organizations on practical urban problems. Capstone projects entail original research papers in Urban Studies seminars; academically supervised video, artistic, or community service projects; and Honors Theses for eligible concentrators.
For additional information, please visit the department's website: http://www.brown.edu/academics/urban-studies/
URBN 0074. Nineteenth-Century Architecture.
Surveys stylistic developments, new building types, and the changing conditions of architectural production through the 19th century. Special emphasis placed on the social context in which buildings were designed and used. Weekly one-hour conference required.
URBN 0210. The City: An Introduction to Urban Studies.
Led by Prof. Neumann, this collaborative, introductory course will include a number of guest lectures by Urban Studies faculty and outside experts. It offers an interdisciplinary approach to the history, spatial form, economy, government, and social life of cities worldwide. Which are the most urgent issues facing cities today? How will continued urban growth affect the environment? How can we learn from historic approaches to urban planning? We will discuss at length the role of pandemics on urban life and urban form and discuss paths towards spatial justice, and inclusive forms of commemoration in the urban realm.
URBN 0230. Urban Life in Providence: An Introduction.
An introduction to Urban Studies and to the city of Providence, this first year seminar explores from an interdisciplinary perspective how cities are broadly conceptualized and studied. Students then focus on urban dwelling, using Providence as a first-hand case study. We comprehensively examine urban life and change, attending to urban history, the diverse configurations of people and place, social and environmental issues, and urban sustainability. In a lively and varied approach to local learning, course activities include lectures, discussion, reading and writing assignments, films and other media, guest speakers, and excursions to local sites. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students.
URBN 1000. Fieldwork in the Urban Community.
Each student undertakes a fieldwork project in close collaboration with a government agency, a nonprofit association, or a planning firm, thereby simultaneously engaging with community and learning qualitative research methods skills. In weekly seminar meetings, the class examines a series of urban issues and discusses fieldwork methodology. Students also schedule regular appointments with the instructor.
URBN 1010. Fieldwork in Urban Archaeology and Historical Preservation.
Study of the surface and subsurface features of the urban built environment. An introduction to research methods and fieldwork procedures used by archaeologists and historical preservationists who work on urban sites. Students undertake fieldwork projects that involve archival research, close examination of historic structures, and theoretical analysis of the changing urban landscape. Priority given to Urban Studies concentrators and American Civilization grad students. Other students selected on first day of class.
URBN 1200. The United States Metropolis, 1945-2000.
This lecture and discussion course will provide students with an introduction to the history, politics, and culture of United States cities and suburbs from the end of World War II to the close of the twentieth century. Readings are drawn from recent work in the political, social, and cultural history of U.S. cities as well as primary sources rooted in the period under study.
URBN 1210. Regional Planning.
Urban sprawl, uncoordinated land use policy, environmental decline, shrinking cities, regional inequities in housing, education, and tax capacity are all challenges that transcend city boundaries. Does it take regional planning to address these challenges? What can regional planning provide that urban planning cannot? In this course, students will develop a critical understanding of regional planning approaches to economic, social, environmental, and land use issues in the United States and abroad. Students will learn urban and regional planning methods which will be integrated throughout the course. A weekly studio and practical group projects are planned.
URBN 1220. Planning Sustainable Cities.
What does sustainability mean in the context of urban areas? Can sustainability be achieved in cities? If so, in what contexts and how? In this course, we will explore theoretical elements of sustainable development and their applications to urban planning. We will also explore various practices in important subfields of planning -- land use, transportation, brownfields redevelopment, affordable housing, renewable energy, food systems, economic development, and governance. This is a project-based course and includes lectures, discussions, workshops, case studies, selected guest speakers, a final project and a mandatory field trip. The approach is interdisciplinary and open to non-concentrators.
URBN 1230. Crime and the City.
This course focuses on crime and the making of urban space, as well as how the making of urban space helps to create and categorize criminal subjects and the concept of cultural criminality. In addition to looking at the geography of race, class, and power in a contemporary US setting, this semester we will focus in on gang identity and performance, police tactics and territoriality, graffiti as an act of spatial transgression, homelessness, and notions of socio-spatial justice. As I will show with the course texts and through classroom lectures, studying crime is about studying space, and visa versa.
URBN 1250. The Political Foundations of the City.
This course examines the history of urban and social welfare policy in the United States and abroad. It reviews major theories accounting for the origins and subsequent development of welfare states, explains the "exceptional" nature of American public policy, and employs a combination of historical texts and case studies to analyze the connections between politics and the urban environment.
URBN 1260. Housing in America.
An examination of why housing matters to individuals, communities, and the nation. This course examines the unique qualities of housing and associated American cultural ideals and norms. The changing role of the government in housing is considered, along with other factors shaping the provision of housing, and the success and failure of housing programs. While housing is a necessity, for many in America housing choices are constrained as costs are unaffordable, discriminatory practices remain, and physical features do not align with needs. This course deliberates how well America meets the challenge of providing decent shelter for all residents.
URBN 1270. Urban Politics and Urban Public Policy.
A central theme of the course is that urban politics in the United arises from the interplay of governmental power and private resources. The course describes the emergence of urban America; the modern city and the theories that have evolved to explain urban politics; and the nature of the urban condition with particular emphasis on the challenges faced by residents and government in the post-industrial city.
URBN 1500. Understanding the City through Data.
Cities are complex systems, but luckily there are lots of data and analysis techniques to make sense of them. In this project-based course, you will learn to conduct a variety of data analysis techniques that are commonly used and essential in urban studies. The case studies will be selected from humanities, social sciences, and real-life urban problems.
URBN 1870A. American Culture and the City.
This course explores American culture and the way it shapes our cities. Topics include the American dream, race, immigration, urban dilemmas, white supremacy, and the seduction of suburbia. We read a book (readings include Alexis de Tocqueville, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Tom Wolfe, W.E.B Du Bois, and others. Films include Wall Street and Gangs of New York. Prerequisite: POLS 0220. Priority given to Urban Studies concentrators.
URBN 1870C. The Environment Built: Urban Environmental History and Urban Environmentalism for the 21st Century.
The term "built environment" suggests an intimate relationship between natural and human-made landscapes. For the last twenty years, environmental historians such as William Cronon have contributed to the project of transcending the false dichotomy between a "pristine" natural environment and the (supposedly artificial) social, cultural, and political terrain of humans. Building upon this important scholarly trajectory, this seminar will re-examine these and other important contributions in light of recent environmental and urban disasters, aiming to bring theoretical readings in environmental history down to earth in order to inspire new ways of thinking about the "environment" for the 21st century. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Instructor permission required.
URBN 1870D. Downtown Development.
This seminar examines the development and revitalization of the urban core in the United States with a focus on urban planning. Providence is used as a laboratory to explore development from the perspective of the planner, the developer, and city residents. Important concepts are illustrated through field trips, public meetings, and guest speakers.
URBN 1870F. Housing and Homelessness.
What is homelessness and where does it come from? Can affordable housing solve the problem? This seminar examines homelessness, low-income housing policies, segregation, gentrification, privatization of public space, and related processes that make it difficult to house the poor. Open to Urban Studies concentrators and by permission based on demonstration of research skills. Enrollment limited to 20.
URBN 1870G. Ancient Cities: From the Origins Through Late Antiquity.
This seminar explores major cities of the ancient Near East (Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and the Levant), Egypt, Greece, and Italy from the origins through late antiquity. The primary focus will be on the physical appearance and overall plans of the cities, their natural and man-made components, their domestic and private as well as their religious and secular spaces. Objects and artifacts of daily life, including pottery, sculpture, wall paintings, mosaics, and various small finds will be evaluated to establish a more nuanced understanding of the different architectural and urban contexts.
URBN 1870H. Rivers and Cities.
Rivers promote urban development and serve as important resources and cultural amenities for communities. This interdisciplinary seminar looks at the use and abuse of selected rivers which have run by or through American cities from the colonial period to the present.
URBN 1870I. The Changing American City.
This course examines the recent evolution of the American city. We will consider various external forces that act upon the city, principally (a) migration patterns, (b) economic and technological change, and (c) public policy. We will also consider how various groups and political leaders respond to these forces and on what resources they draw. Priority given to Urban Studies and Political Science concentrators.
URBN 1870J. The Politics of Community Organizing.
Introduces key issues concerning community organizing. Focuses on the life, skills, and tactics of Saul Alinsky and the national organization he founded, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Analyzes the work of the IAF in a number of urban settings. Seeks to develop theories and models for studying community mobilization in urban America. Priority given to Political Science and Urban Studies concentrators.
URBN 1870K. Jerusalem Since 1850: Religion, Politics, Cultural Heritage.
This seminar surveys the history of archaeological exploration, discovery, and interpretation in the contexts of social, political and religious debates from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the post-1967 period. It examines the legal settings and ethical precepts of archaeological activity and the developing discourse of cultural heritage. It analyzes the ongoing struggle to discover and define the city's past, to expose its physical legacy, and to advance claims of scientific validity and objectivity against the challenges of religious zeal and political partisanship, the latter both intimately related though not necessarily limited to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
URBN 1870M. Urban Regimes in the American Republic.
A probing of topical issues in both their theoretical antecedents and their contemporary manifestations. Examines the intellectual debates and the scholarly treatments surrounding issues of power in the city, urban redevelopment policy, urban poverty, urban educational policy, and race in the city. Enrollment limited to 20.
URBN 1870N. The Cultural and Social Life of the Built Environment.
This seminar investigates the relationship between people and place. It considers the ways that people create and experience the human-made landscape, how they understand place through various aesthetic forms, and political conflict over space and place. We look mostly at the history and contemporary development of cities and suburbs in the United States. Students will prepare a final project on a specific aspect of the built environment; they will be encouraged to focus their research on Providence or another local community. Enrollment limited to 20. Priority given to Urban Studies concentrators and seniors; instructor permission required otherwise.
URBN 1870P. Representing the Twentieth-Century City.
Will explore the impact of a variety of techniques of representation on the formulation and conceptualization of a variety of "urban problems" in twentieth-century Europe and America. Will employ an active, "hands-on" approach, and therefore centers on a series of projects: in addition to reading classic works in urban planning history and the history of science, participants will choose their own "urban problem" to explore throughout the semester. They will conduct an in-depth interview with a key figure involved in contemporary debates about this problem, write an "ideas piece" or editorial about it, and, finally, submit a research paper. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
URBN 1870Q. Cities in Mind: Modern Urban Thought and Theory.
This seminar investigates the place of the city in the history of modern thought and cultural theory, drawing on selected currents in urban thought and theory from Europe and the United States over the last two centuries. Topics include questions of public and private space, citizenship, selfhood, difference and inequality, media and technology, planning, modernism and postmodernism. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors, preference for those concentrating in Urban Studies.
URBN 1870R. Bottom-up Urbanism.
Cities are produced by those who possess political authority, technical expertise, and dominant forms of economic, social, and cultural capital. In this course, however, we will focus on the production of urban space and fight for spatial justice from the bottom up. We will examine everyday creative, illicit, autonomous, anarchic, and agent-based urbanism as practiced by members of subgroups, from graffiti writers and Occupy protestors to place-based communities of color, who re-envision, re-aestheticize, and physically transform their surroundings, develop new forms of symbolic capital, and produce alternative socio-spatial realities in a quest for inclusive urban futures.
URBN 1870S. The City, the River, and the Sea: Social and Environmental Change at the Water's Edge.
This course examines urban social and environmental change at the water’s edge, focusing in particular on urban rivers, coastal areas, and deltas. Beginning with key frameworks for understanding the relationship between people and place, students explore the history and current concerns of urbanization, within the larger and increasingly urgent inquiry on human dwelling and water/waterways. The course is then organized around key topics and case studies from around the world, framed by historical and scientific data but also explored through ethnography, narrative non-fiction, and documentary work to understand how water, urban dwelling, and change are variously experienced, enacted, and presented.
URBN 1870T. Transportation: An Urban Planning Perspective.
This seminar explores how urban planners in the U.S. plan for and around various transportation networks. We will examine how these networks are designed and funded, which modes get priority over others, and ultimately how transportation shapes the built environment. Realworld examples of plans and projects from Providence and Rhode Island are used throughout the course. Important concepts are illustrated through field trips and guest speakers.
URBN 1870U. Critical Urban Theory.
In this seminar students will closely read and apply critical theory to thinking about urban formations and inherent socio-spatial inequalities and forms of everyday representation in a contemporary US context. More broadly, students will become familiar with geographical thought coming out of the social sciences and humanities that advances the decidedly spatial perspective that the majority of social, economic, political, and environmental problems and their potential solutions are urban-based.
URBN 1870V. City Senses: Urbanism Beyond Visual Spectacle.
Architecture and urbanism provide synesthetic experiences of space that don't necessarily privilege visual perception. This project seminar explores alternative approaches to design and an understanding of the city through explorations of all the senses. We will read philosophical ideologies and the physical experiences of the sounds of bells, traffic, and water; the smells of foods, plants, and sewers; and the feelings of light and shade. Through the identification of unconventional sensory markers, sound recordings, scent distillations, or films of different corporeal means of navigating the city, we will create a digital exhibition that consists of interactive maps of Providence.
URBN 1870W. World Cities.
Populations the world over are urbanizing, creating mega-cities with mega-prospects and mega-problems. This course considers urbanization and urban life in the world;s largest and most prominent cites. Examines the economic, political, social, cultural, and other forces that push and pull migrants to global cities and the ways those cities respond to growth--and sometimes decline. Students confront urban challenges--inadequate infrastructure, transportation, and housing environmental degradation, architectural and heritage preservation, social diversity and conflict, crime and informal employment. Students also learn what makes places distinctive by comparing global cities from regions around the world.
URBN 1870Z. Housing Justice.
Housing is fundamental to overall well-being, yet in RI many cannot find affordable, decent housing aligned with their needs. This community-based research course engages with local housing justice organizations working for change. Course participants, organizational staff, and community members will gather and analyze data to inform interventions and/or modify policies. After some foundational studies, the semester will be spent immersed in a team research project. Topics may include evictions, studentification and gentrification, rental inspections, property ownership, and healthy housing. The course will advance skills in research, communication, and collaboration, and expand understanding of the housing system.
URBN 1871B. Berlin: Global Metropolis (1945-2020).
This seminar explores the physical and human landscapes of post-war Berlin: its steadily expanding urban fabric and how it engages with the rapidly changing population make-up. The focus will be on the tension between past and present histories, new German identities, the recent massive migrations, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and how these social and geopolitical phenomena interact with the city’s urban spaces and monuments. As case studies, we will explore the relationship among Germans and three other significant communities: Turks, Israelis, and Palestinians.
URBN 1900. Land Use Planning: The Future of the I-195 Parcels.
This studio examines how one represents, analyzes, constructs and projects the future design of an urban site. One approach examines the city as a series of distinct physical spaces and operates by establishing typological standards and constructs significant and iconic public spaces. The second approach is concerned with the city as a technical object that organizes time – the operational aspects of the city - as well as space. In this studio, we ask you to consider how intervening in a specific location in downtown Providence can initiate a larger plan and longer-term vision through urban and an architectural scale propositions. Enrollment limited to 10 seniors concentrating in Urban Studies and History of Art and Architecture.
URBN 1910. Drawing and Creating in 2D, 3D and CAD for Architecture and Urban Design.
This class equips students with an array of techniques for developing and recording ideas in architecture and urban design. Geometric techniques, such as orthogonal plans, section cuts, elevations, axonometric projections and simple perspective systems, are introduced along with procedures for exploring qualitative and time-based factors. Practical assignments cover the use of sketch and formal (projection) techniques in both analog and digital media (including CAD applications). Brief readings and class discussions provide a critical understanding of the various techniques, their history, their particular strengths and their appropriate contexts of use.
URBN 1920. Introduction to Urban Design and Planning: The City as System.
Urban design and planning are the tools that shape the physical and social fabrics of the city: Urbs and Civitas. The distinction between urban and civic -the built city and the city of human relationships- has shifted in light of the current process of global urbanization. This seminar will examine the role of urban design and planning in shaping the systemic city of the 21st century. Our conversations about current theories and practices of urban design, planning and urban systems will be accompanied by a hands-on design exercise to experience how the future of cities is planned in the present.
URBN 1921. Theory of Architecture and Urbanism.
The course introduces the theory of architecture and urbanism. It focuses on the notion that theory is closely related to the crisis of architecture and urbanism as experienced with the rise of the modern metropolis in the mid-19th century. The formation of mass society, the deployment of new materials such as steel, glass and concrete, and the replacement of manual labour by machine production scrutinized the classical concepts of space, architecture and city. The course will follow the changing concept of theory from the advent of the modern metropolis through high modernism, postmodernity, deconstruction and the age of digital production.
URBN 1930. Brown in Providence.
This course will explore the long interrelationship between Brown University and the city it calls home. Through guided readings, independent research and spirited conversation, we will trace the many ways in which Brown’s urban setting has defined the university over its 250 years. We will consider Rhode Island’s unique history as a refuge for the persecuted, the transformations of the Industrial Revolution and the ways in which immense political and demographic changes of the 19th and 20th centuries left their mark on Brown.
URBN 1932. The Just City: Installment I, Comparative Perspectives on Juvenile Justice Reform.
The first installment in a series on “the just city,” this course focuses on juvenile justice reform. Beginning with a broad view of the just city, the course then examines: 1) urban childhoods and constructions of race, inequality, and delinquency and 2) juvenile justice reform from a comparative perspective that includes local, U.S., and international contexts. An engaged scholars course, students participate in reflexive practices to draw connections between course content, their own experiences, and specific community-based contexts. At the end of the semester, students write and share reports in a public forum conceptualized and organized by the class.
URBN 1934. The Just City (Installment II): Crossroads and Congregations.
The second installment in a series on “the just city,” this course focuses on the exploration of critical “crossroads” and “congregations” -- exploring the spatial imaginaries of injustice found across the urban landscape and working to uncover the specific routes, intersections, and sites of convergence activated in its necessary transformation. Students learn from a range of materials including scholarly articles and essays, contemporary ethnographies, films, and applied reports. Students will also gain experience in fieldwork (spatial analysis, participant observation, urban design) as they trace these processes locally, with Providence and its environs as a primary site.
URBN 1940. Planning, Designing, Building in West Africa: Informality from Urban Scale to Material Choices.
This project seminar introduces students to the urban character and architecture of economic informality in developing countries. The focus will be on West Africa and more specifically on Niger to explore what the phenomenon is, how it expresses itself and how it impacts the urban fabric. Students will be exposed to images and writings that explore urban infrastructure in West Africa, its networks and actors. The course will explore and encourage students to think of ways in which the informal economy and its architecture can become a part of the urban design logic of cities in many parts of Africa.
URBN 1941. How to Shape a City: An Introduction to Real Estate Development.
Have you ever wondered why cities take the form they do, with tall offices in some districts and low-density housing in others? Or how run-down parts of an older city evolve overnight into “hot,” happening places? This course will introduce the fundamentals of real estate development, examining a variety of development forms from multiple perspectives - including those of the city, the developer and the local citizen. Using examples from Providence and elsewhere, it will provide students with both insight into the forces determining the shape of modern American cities and hands-on tools to begin shaping the urban environment themselves.
URBN 1942. Designing the 21st Century City in West Africa: Informality and New Urban Planning Languages.
Nowhere in the world is urbanization happening at the rate it is in developing countries, which are experiencing unprecedented pressures on their urban economies. This seminar-studio introduces students to the urban character and architecture of economic informality in those countries. The focus will be on West Africa and more specifically on Niger to explore the phenomenon and how it inserts itself in the urban fabric. The studio phase of the course will encourage students to propose ways in which the informal economy and its architecture can become a part of the urban design logic of many African cities.
URBN 1943. The Real Estate Development Process: An Entrepreneurial Lens.
Real estate development is the ongoing configuration of the built environment for society’s needs. The improved spaces in which we live, work, and play all started as ideas initiated and brought to fruition. Every real estate project, whether it’s making use of unused land or redeveloping existing properties, is in essence a separate business undertaking employing the three factors of production - land, labor, and capital - to create a new or changed product. These factors are coordinated by entrepreneurial management and delivered by teams.
URBN 1970. Independent Reading and Research.
A specific program of intensive reading and research arranged in terms of the special needs and interests of the student. Open primarily to concentrators, but others may be admitted by written permission. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
URBN 1971. Senior Honors Thesis I in Urban Studies.
A program of intensive reading, research, and writing under the direction of a faculty member. Permission should be obtained from the Thesis Advisor in Urban Studies. Mandatory attendance at periodic meetings during the semester is required. Open to Senior Urban Studies concentrators pursuing Honors in Urban Studies. Instructor permission required.
URBN 1972. Senior Honors Thesis II in Urban Studies.
A program of intensive reading, research, and writing under the direction of a faculty member. Permission should be obtained from the Thesis Advisor in Urban Studies. Mandatory attendance at periodic meetings during the semester is required. Open to Senior Urban Studies concentrators pursuing Honors in Urban Studies. Instructor permission required.
URBN 1981. Honors Thesis Workshop.
This seminar introduces students to independent research and writing skills necessary for successful and timely completion of the honors thesis. Course work includes presentation of one's own thesis drafts and peer review of classmates' work. All students who submit an approved honors thesis proposal shall enroll in URBN 1981 for the spring semester of their thesis research and writing. Concentrators may also enroll in the course during semesters 6 or 7 in preparation for the honors thesis, but must present a written proposal in place of chapters. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors in Urban Studies. S/NC
URBN XLIST. Courses of Interest to Concentrators in Urban Studies.
|The following courses offered by other departments will fulfill Core Discipline, Seminar, and Complementary Course requirements of the Urban Studies concentration. (Please refer to the Urban Studies website to determine which requirements are fulfilled by these courses.)
Please check with the sponsoring department for times and locations.
ANTH 1236 Urban Life: Anthropology In and Of the City
APMA 1650 Statistical Inference I
Archaeology and the Ancient World
ARCH 1900 The Archaeology of College Hill
Cognitive, Linguistic, Psychological Sciences
CLPS 0900 Quantitative Methods in Psychology
ECON 1620 Introduction to Econometrics
ENGL 1711D Reading New York
ENVS 1400 Sustainable Design in the Built Environment
PHP 1501 Essential of Data Analysis
SOC 0310 Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship
SOC 1100 Introductory Statistics for Social Research
SOC 1270 Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the Modern World
SOC 1340 Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems
SOC 1871X Comparative Urban Political Economy
James A. Morone
John Hazen White Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies
Professor of History of Art and Architecture; Professor of Italian Studies
Marion E. Orr
Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies
Professor Emerita of Sociology
Rebecca Louise Carter
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies
Jan Mateusz Pacewicz
Associate Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies
Associate Professor of American Studies and Urban Studies
The Urban Studies program teaches students to analyze the city, urban life, and urbanization through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Students learn where cities come from, how they grow, thrive, and decline, how they are organized, and how to construct meaningful, inclusive, secure, and sustainable places. The curriculum examines how urban problems arise, how they have been previously addressed, and how to plan cities of the future. Concentrators enjoy the breadth of courses in American Studies, economics, history, literature, history of art and architecture, political science, sociology, and planning as well as provide in-depth courses integrating those perspectives. We introduce the fundamentals of Urban Studies scholarship as well as intense examination of an urban problem in focused seminars. These advanced seminars offer opportunities to write extensive and synthetic interdisciplinary analyses that serve as capstones to the concentration. The program’s 10-course curriculum provides sufficient flexibility to allow students to pursue specific urban interests or to take courses in urban focus areas of Built Environment; Humanities; Social Sciences; and Sustainable Urbanism. The Program insures that students master at least one basic research methodology and perform research or fieldwork projects, which may result in an honors thesis. Fieldwork training includes working with local agencies and nonprofit organizations on practical urban problems. Capstone projects entail original research papers in Urban Studies seminars; academically supervised video, artistic, or community service projects; and Honors Theses for eligible concentrators.
Concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their curriculum and long-term engaged activities such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work, and many other possible forms of community involvement might consider the Engaged Scholar Program in US. The program combines preparation, experience, and reflection to offer students opportunities to enhance the integration of academic learning and social engagement.
For a concentration, the program requires ten courses selected from four course groups:
|Introduction (choose one):||1|
|The City: An Introduction to Urban Studies|
|Urban Life in Providence: An Introduction|
|Research Methods (choose one):||1|
|Statistical Inference I|
|Statistical Inference II|
|Introduction to Econometrics|
|Introductory Statistics for Education Research and Policy Analysis|
|Essentials of Data Analysis|
|Political Research Methods|
|Methods of Social Research|
|Introductory Statistics for Social Research 1|
|Core Courses (3 courses required, in at least 3 disciplines, such as American studies, anthropology, economics, education, English, history, history of art and architecture, political science, and sociology, as well as urban planning when staffing allows)||3|
|Cities of Sound: Place and History in American Pop Music|
|Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis|
|Urban Life: Anthropology in and of the City|
|Anthropology of Disasters|
|Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Applications|
|Reading New York|
|Sustainable Design in the Built Environment|
|Environmental Stewardship and Resilience in Urban Systems|
|Introduction to Architectural Design Studio|
|The Other History of Modern Architecture|
|Architecture and Urbanism of Africa|
|City and Cinema|
|American Urban History, 1600-1870|
|American Urban History, 1870-1965 (HIST 1550::American Urban History to 1870)|
|African American Politics|
|Remaking the City|
|Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems|
|Fieldwork in the Urban Community|
|The United States Metropolis, 1945-2000|
|The Political Foundations of the City|
|Housing in America|
|Urban Politics and Urban Public Policy|
|Seminar courses (choose three) 2||3|
|City of the American Century: The Culture and Politics of Urbanism in Postwar New York City|
|Policy Implementation in Education|
|Berlin: Architecture, Politics and Memory|
|Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship|
|American Culture and the City|
|Ancient Cities: From the Origins Through Late Antiquity|
|The Changing American City|
|The Politics of Community Organizing|
|Jerusalem Since 1850: Religion, Politics, Cultural Heritage|
|Urban Regimes in the American Republic|
|The Cultural and Social Life of the Built Environment|
|Cities in Mind: Modern Urban Thought and Theory|
|The City, the River, and the Sea: Social and Environmental Change at the Water's Edge|
|Transportation: An Urban Planning Perspective|
|City Senses: Urbanism Beyond Visual Spectacle|
|Berlin: Global Metropolis (1945-2020)|
|How to Shape a City: An Introduction to Real Estate Development|
|Complementary Curriculum (Total of 2 courses required):||2|
1. Any course from the Introductory or Core Curriculum options above not used to fulfill another requirement
2. OR Any of the following:
|Race, Gender, and Urban Politics|
|African-American Life in the City|
|Making America: Twentieth-Century U.S. Immigrant/Ethnic Literature|
|Oral History and Community Memory|
|Charles Chapin and the Urban Public Health Movement|
|Inequality, Sustainability, and Mobility in a Car-Clogged World|
|Anthropology of Homelessness|
|Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past|
|City and Sanctuary in the Ancient World|
|Cities and Urban Space in the Ancient World|
|Cities, Colonies and Global Networks in the Western Mediterranean|
|City and the Festival: Cult Practices and Architectural Production in the Ancient Near East|
|Archaeologies of the Near East|
|How Houses Build People|
|The Archaeology of College Hill|
|Race and Inequality in the United States|
|Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods|
|Education, the Economy and School Reform|
|Social Psychology of Race, Class, and Gender|
|Urban Schools in Historical Perspective|
|Harlem Renaissance: The Politics of Culture|
|Land Use and Built Environment: An Entrepreneurial View|
|Wild Literature in the Urban Landscape|
|Environmental Law and Policy|
|Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems|
|Gold, Wool and Stone: Painters and Bankers in Renaissance Tuscany|
|Constructing the Eternal City: Popes and Pilgrims in Early Modern Rome|
|Renaissance Venice and the Veneto|
|Contemporary American Urbanism: City Design and Planning, 1945-2000|
|Samurai and Merchants, Prostitutes and Priests: Japanese Urban Culture in the Early Modern Period|
|Capitalism, Land and Water: A World History: 1848 to the present|
|Cities and Urban Culture in China|
|City as Modernity:Popular Culture, Mass Consumption, Urban Entertainment in Nineteenth-Century Paris|
|History of Rio de Janeiro|
|London: 1750 to the Present|
|Urban History of Latin America|
|Modernity, Jews, and Urban Identities in Central Europe (JUDS 1718)|
|Word, Image and Power in Early Modern Italy|
|Japanese Cities: Tokyo and Kyoto|
|Modernity, Jews, and Urban Identities in Central Europe|
|Power and Prosperity in Urban America|
|Imagining Moscow: Utopia and Urban Spaces in 20th-Century Russian Culture|
|The Fate of the Coast|
|American Heritage: Democracy, Inequality, and Public Policy|
|Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the Modern World|
|Human Needs and Social Services|
3. RISD courses approved by the Urban Studies Program each semester as applicable to the Urban Studies concentration. 3
4. Any course taken at another university in the US or abroad and approved by the Urban Studies Program each semester (2 maximum)
There are also other statistics courses offered by other departments (e.g., Applied Mathematics, Cognitive Sciences, and Psychology). On occasion, an alternative research skills course may be approved for a specific concentration.
The courses provide opportunities to undertake research or fieldwork projects and all qualify as "capstone" experiences.
No more than two may be used to satisfy the requirements of this concentration. The RISD course is identified in the student's record at Brown by a RISD course code.
Off-Campus Courses: Some courses taken outside Brown (e.g., in study abroad programs) may be used for credit towards the concentration if the material covered directly corresponds to that taught in Brown courses, or is relevant to the complementary curriculum. Such courses will be approved each semester by the concentration advisor.
Candidates for Honors must have above average grades and shall apply for this distinction in writing to the Director of the Program by the middle of the second semester of their junior year. They shall include a cover letter with a brief statement of the intended research proposal as well as the name of the member of the Urban Studies faculty who would serve as their advisor and with whom they must work closely. Twelve courses are required for Honors concentrator, two in addition to the ten courses required for a standard program. During the Fall and Spring of the senior year, honors candidates must complete two additional courses beyond the ten courses required by the regular concentration: URBN 1971 Senior Honors Thesis I in Urban Studies(S/NC) and URBN 1972 Senior Honors Thesis II in Urban Studies (grade). The candidate's final thesis must be of outstanding quality, in order to qualify for honors.