Courses & Syllabi

UR-101– Introduction to Urban Studies (SYLLABUS HERE)

UR101 is an opportunity for you to cultivate a deeper understanding of the nature of cities and all that nature entails. Your participation is also an opportunity to develop skills in research, writing, and critical and creative thinking as applied to cities and urban problems.  Finally, you will be pushed to become more self-reflective, developing empathy for a deeper range of human experiences. The class will challenge you to consider the full range of social responsibilities that come with being a member of an urban society. What you get out of this class is ultimately up to you, determined to a large extent by how much effort you put in.

UR-360– Environmental Systems and Public Policy (SYLLABUS HERE)

We are in a global ecological crisis that threatens the survival of millions of species on the planet, including our own. The design, maintenance, and expansion of urban systems drives this crisis through the destruction of habitat and pollution of air, water, and soil. This class introduces the core concepts of urban ecology and the protection of environmental systems from the threats of urbanization.  We examine these topics at three scales: the region/city, the neighborhood, and the building/infrastructure.  The class culminates in a final project wherein you and a partner will critically evaluate a controversial development and identify strategies to make it better complement and serve non-humans.

Changi International Airport, Singapore.  Photo by Samuel Toh on Unsplash

UR-201– Analysis of Urban Systems (SYLLABUS HERE)

Gentrification and neighborhood change are defining urban life in places like Massachusetts, with unique coalitions contesting the policies, plans, and developments that contribute to these changes.  This course will introduce you to the skills of urban analysis through project-based application.  Our task is to explore the question: Did Worcester gentrify in the decade prior to COVID-19, or did something else happen?  What are the impacts? What are the stakes? And what role did state and local government or private actors play in facilitating these changes?

Doug Chayka

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