Towns and Settlements in Metropolitan Regions

As cities expand into metropolitan regions they inevitably push up against, produce, otherwise engage, and sometimes engulf already established settlements on their peripheries. Rome, for instance, is surrounded by a corona, or crown, of some thirty-eight other commune, or municipalities. Similarly, most metropolitan areas in the United States, like Boston, also consist of several dozen separate communities in conjunction with the larger city itself. Although perhaps not so fragmented, Barcelona is comprised of the city and some dozen or two dozen separate communities depending upon how the metropolitan area is defined. Designated cities in China, almost by definition, are expansive and crowded out on their peripheries by smaller towns and villages that have also become the loci of considerable recent political attention. Seen from the perspective of useful differences rather than inclusiveness and similarity, these realities can be regarded as complementary in character, potentially incorporating lifestyle diversity in a region, comprised of high levels of social capital, and potentially better levels of environmental amenity. This course is a seminar-workshop aimed at examining various kinds of metropolitan spatial arrangements, interactions and trends internationally. In addition to lectures bearing on topics of spatial dynamics, functional roles, and qualities of life among peripheral and peri-peripheral settlements, technical workshops and demonstrations will be conducted to acquaint students with useful techniques for analysis and speculation. Students will be expected to develop and be graded on detailed group case-study presentations of selected metropolitan regions of varying scale, such as Rome, Barcelona, Boston, Paris, Mumbai and Beijing. This is also a limited enrollment seminar, but without prerequisites, save enrollment at the Graduate School of Design.