Political Economy of Urbanization

Over the last two decades or so, cities have been undergoing a drastic process of restructuring. An ever-growing number of terms – urban villages, edge cities, exopolises, exurbia, etc. – try to capture the new urban form. In other cases the new names attract attention to the changing urban role – post-industrial, post-modern, service, world cities, etc. To further complicate the picture, the analytic tools traditionally used to understand the city are equally being restructured, questioning both mainstream and radical urban explanations. The purpose of this course is to offer a terrain for discussion by tracing the restructuring of both the city and its interpretations. The first half of the course focuses on traditional and Marxist approaches to the city. Within both approaches a further distinction is made between views that privilege economic or social readings of the city. The second half of the course introduces the many changes that restructuring has brought to the city – new functions, spatial organizations and social compositions. It also wants to highlight newly emerging ways of interpreting the city. In parallel to traditional readings of the city \’from above\’ (i.e., overarching and all inclusive views) several sessions will be devoted to urban readings derived from personal and empirical experience of the city.