Session 1

January 27th
Session One:

Part One: Introductions, review syllabus, grading, and Zoom policies.

  • Cities are planned by
    • urban planners
    • city government
    • state government
    • national government
    • developers – non-profit/ for profit
    • social movements
    • lobbying, special interests
  • how do people with less social power relate to groups with more social power

Part Two: Discussion focused on concerns, challenges, and hopes for the future of cities. Class discussion for Part Two guided by the questions below into 9 breakout rooms (one for each question):

  1. What do you think of when you hear the term “alternative urban futures”?
    • the realization that sustainability does not have an alternative that you can survive
  2. What are your most significant concerns for the future of cities?
    • urban sprawl
    • “overpopulation”
    • better transit
    • affordable housing
    • people leaving the cities
    • housing
    • sustainable income
    • urban sprawl
    • empty cities
    • crime
    • access to resources
    • urban decay
    • housing quality
    • affordable housing
    • urban density
    • climate change
    • equity
    • corporate dominance
  3. What are the most significant challenges facing the future of cities?
  4. How would you prioritize what you think needs to change to improve quality of life in cities?
  5. What policies and programs do you think are working well in cities?
  6. What changes, policies and programs do you think would improve quality of life for people living in cities?
  7. What do you think would prevent these changes from happening?
  8. What do you think would make it more likely that these changes could occur?
  9. What strategies can urban residents use to promote change in urban areas?
  10.  How do we define: Inclusive, Resilient, Productive, Livable, Sustainable


Part II “A Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair – 7.36 minutes


FIRST: Create two lists. On the first list, write down all of the characteristics you associate with a “good” city. On the second list, write down all of the principles and values that influenced how you thought about and determined the characteristics you associate with a “good” city?

  • A good city
    • Is safe (Implements resident stewardship and community-based policing.)
    • Provides for the basic needs of its people (sufficient shelter, food, water, public restrooms, etc)
    • Has enough affordable housing for everyone
    • Resists gentrification and displacement
    • Housing is held by the public and planned/subsidized to be sustainable and available in sufficient quantities for all who need it
    • Consumes less of everything
    • Centers people instead of cars
  • Principles and values
    • Sustainable power, water, and food systems
    • Resource sovereignty
    • Housing is affordable and accessible to all
    • Anti-gentrification
    • De-growth
    • Transit oriented development

NEXT: Watch the video below and write down the ways in which this city reflects or does not reflect the list you created of the principles and values that influenced how you thought about and determined the characteristics you associate with a “good” city?

  • Does
    • Enough housing in Songdu
    • Cities like Seoul, Singapore, and Paris are choosing to get rid of highways and replace them with green spaces that center people instead of cars.
    • Almost no one owns cars in Singapore
    • Electric rickshaws are free in Santiago
    • Shanghai hides cars in underground tunnels
    • Reykjavik uses geothermal energy
    • Lima uses air wells
    • Dr Jockin of Slum Dwellers International built a million improvised shelters for people living in slums in 43 countries
      • Also built recycling programs
    • 82% of people in Singapore live in public housing
    • Denmark has 150% tax on all car purchases
  • Does not
    • Private housing in Songdu
    • Neoliberal capitalist solutions in Detroit to the failure of the city to deliver the most basic essentials like water
    • Shenzhen centers cars with giant highways
    • Cheaper in Shenzhen to drive to a supermarket and buy food from thousands of miles away than to use transit to get to a farmers market and buy local food
    • US teaches others that subsidizing cars is a good idea
    • Many architects have a pre-designed approach that they force onto whatever place they get to, rather than listening to what the people there actually want and need.

The Future of Cities – (18 minutes)