Undergraduate Course Syllabi

  • URB STD 150-201 Multicultural America , UWinteriM 2024
    Instructor: Jamie Harris (jmh@uwm.edu)
    Urban Studies 150 is an interdisciplinary course that explores the intersection of race and urban development. This course is a required course for the major in urban studies and counts toward the urban studies certificate but does not assume any previous knowledge of urban studies and is open to all students at UWM (the vast majority of students in the online version are not majors or certificate students). In this course we will examine how city-building and suburbanization are linked to race, ethnicity, immigration, class, and other social attributes by drawing on a variety of case studies from several disciplines in the social sciences. We will consider how economic development, federal and local policies, urban politics, and local community actions have all served in different ways and at different times, to structure inequality and the marginalization and privilege of certain groups and communities. We will also consider the ways different groups and organizations have used urban space to construct community identities and foster movements for social change to address injustices. The online version of this course does not include service learning.

  • URB STD 250-001 Exploring the Urban Environment , Fall 2023
    Instructor: Sana Avar (sanaavar@uwm.edu)
    This course examines the various dimensions of urban environments, exploring their physical, social, economic, and environmental aspects, and provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the urban environment, focusing on the principles and dynamics that shape cities. Through a multidisciplinary approach, students will gain insights into the planning and design considerations necessary for creating sustainable and livable urban spaces and explore the physical, social, economic, and environmental aspects of urban spaces. The course will spark curiosity about the spaces and places present within the urban, as we look to understand their morphology and how they impact our way of life, including daily routine, behavior, spending, and relationships. We will consider why individuals and families are drawn to a range of urban environments, tied to relational networks, employment, mobility, and affordability. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze and critically assess urban environments. The course incorporates perspectives and knowledge from various disciplines, including architecture, urban planning, urban design, history, and others to expose students to a range of contexts, societies, landscapes, perspectives, and variables that impact urban environments and life.

  • URB STD 360-202 Perspectives on the Urban Scene: Green Cities: UrbanAgri, Sustain. & Envir Justice, Fall 2023
    Instructor: Xiaohan Gu (gux@uwm.edu)
    TOPIC: Green Cities: Urban Agriculture, Sustainability and Environmental Justice Urbanization, with a pace that is growing ever faster, prompts both opportunities and challenges to satisfy the needs of the ballooning urban population. While this may boost technological innovations, economic growth, as well as more efficient and integrated lifestyles; the fast-paced urbanization leads to predicaments when our urban lifestyles counter resilient environmental stewardship and worsen social equity. Thus, sustainable development, by its very definition, brings hope to the establishment of a thriving and just urban environment, and a remedy to the dire ecological damages and deterioration caused by human beings. Before desperately embracing sustainability as the panacea-like guidelines to treat the current conditions for humanity, we need to understand the complexity of sustainable development; the challenges and the dynamics at play to establish a sustainable city and transform it into a greener one, and to evaluate sustainable strategic urban plans. This course, therefore, offers the opportunity to review and understand sustainable development through academic readings, book chapters, and case studies, with the integration of the ReFresh Milwaukee Plan (City of Milwaukee Sustainability Plan 2013-2023). Theories and practices are presented during the course to explain the complicated relationships between components of sustainable development and urban society through a focus on concepts, policy, justice, production, consumption, infrastructure, transportation, technology, and urban change. The purpose of the course is to support the establishment of critical and analytical thinking of urbanization and sustainability. Urban sustainability, through the observations and topics of the course, may reveal itself as problematic, contradictory, and sometimes seemingly unachievable, but it is nevertheless important for presenting our disagreement of existing urban development and our hopes for the creation of a more resilient and just city.

  • URB STD 377-001 Urbanism and Urbanization , Fall 2023
    Instructor: Jamie Harris (jmh@uwm.edu)
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the process of urbanization and the nature of urban society. Students will be exposed to a variety of classic and contemporary urban theorists and different methodological approaches to the study of urban areas as they investigate several substantive urban topics and case studies to account for the changing social and spatial patterns of cities and metropolitan regions. By the end of the semester, students will be familiar with a number of key theorists and interpretive frameworks and be able to apply that knowledge to help make sense of, and consider solutions for, a number of central issues facing cities and regions today such as globalization, urban growth and decline, immigration, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, regional governance, transportation, and sustainable development, among others, and the implications of each for the urban form. This is a required course for urban studies majors. Notes: Sociol 377 & Urb Std 377 are jointly- offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: jr st & a Sociol 100-level course; or Urb Std 250(P).

  • URB STD 450-001 Urban Growth and Development: A Global View , Spring 2024
    Instructor: Jamie Harris (jmh@uwm.edu)
    Urbanization is advancing at an unprecedented rate around the world, with most of that growth occurring in the “developing” Global South, often in informal settlements. More than 1 billion people now reside in informal settlements, and many megacities will be approaching populations of 30 million over the next decade. Rapid urbanization, and the shadow cities that accompany this kind of development can have broad implications for urban poverty and inequality, migration, and the impacts of climate change. Along with this explosion of urbanization, the last two decades have witnessed much new theorizing and empirical research focused on cities and urbanized regions of the Global South. Many of these scholars have challenged conventional urban theory and critiqued the field of urban studies that emerged in the 20th century for its decidedly European and North American orientation. Unable to fully account for the complexity and diverse historical, political and cultural basis of different urbanisms that were emerging, these scholars, many from outside the West, began to formulate new approaches and concepts to more fully understand urban change and development. This interdisciplinary, hybrid course will examine some of these debates and explore some of this new empirical work as we delve into an array of urban contexts across several regions and countries outside the U.S. Particular attention will be given to urban informality and territories of exclusion in Brazil, Ghana, and India; state-led urbanization in China; Global City formations in a number of cities; greening cities and climate disaster and resilience in Europe, Asia, and Canada; urban citizenship, tactical urbanism and 'right to the city' campaigns, and the role of urban space in shaping and fostering political mobilization for gender equality, poor people, and climate justice, across a number of cities and countries.