New Geographies: Imagining a City-World Beyond Cosmopolis

The course invites the students to imagine better urban and architectural forms that overcome the limitations of the global city, or cosmopolis. Much of the literature about urban development today presents cosmopolis as an inevitable phenomenon with which we have to contend. World migration patterns, collective ecological risks, and global economy are generating intense but ultimately undesirable cities. The literature persists in describing these phenomena within the confines of nation states, through gradients of density and centrality such as urban-suburban-rural and with conventional land-use categories that compromise the originality and potentials of new forms of settlement.The course proposes that these descriptions are no longer adequate and that if we cast the question of human settlements at the scale of the world, then we can identify new spatial patterns that transcend the limitations of cosmopolis and help us imagine a better city-world. The course focuses primarily on the emerging geographies of urban regions, infrastructures, new urban conglomerations, mega-forms, continuous surfaces, and on the emergence of new geo-aesthetics.The course consists of a series of lectures on the idea of the city-world. It relies on readings drawn from a variety of fields of inquiry including cosmopolitanism, global migration, economics, infrastructure, mega-forms, and eco-art. Each class session consists of a lecture, a discussion, and a workshop. In the workshop, each student will spend the semester imaging a component of this city-world: (e.g. regional geography, networks, infrastructures, densities, scales, navigational mechanisms, mega-forms, representations, and aesthetics).Prerequisite: Completion of core for MArchs, MUPs, and MLAs.