Reinventing Formal and Informal Latin American Urbanism

This course pursues two objectives: (1) It provides a general overview of Latin American Urbanism in order to understand how cities in this part of the world became an aggregate of different urban components; and (2) It analyzes current challenges and trends, and also envisions innovative solutions for these hybrid urban scenarios. To accomplish the first objective, we will deconstruct cities identifying historical layers by reading texts, contexts, and urban form as a tool to understand culture. As for the second, we will intend to reconstruct the contemporary Latin-American city, in light of the challenges of the 21st Century focusing on public space as means to minimize inequalities. Thus, we will have an opportunity to reconceptualize public space. In recent decades, innovative Latin-American initiatives have significantly improved distressed urban conditions, which may be emulated in other parts of the world, thus the international validity of the notions to be addressed in this seminar. This course includes theory/history and relevant case studies corresponding to different urban issues, to be followed by class discussions. Also, we will enjoy the presence of visiting lecturers. Students working in groups will be asked to select a Latin American city, in order to understand the resulting urban form in relation to the different topics discussed in class, as well as to discover and envision opportunities to solve urban problems. The evaluation will take into consideration participation in class discussions, the analysis, preparation, and presentation of case studies and of design exercises. The course encourages the participation of Urban Planning and Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture students.