Elective / Seminar

Critical Perspectives FROM Southern Urbanism

Urban phenomena in many cities of the South have long been planned and analyzed through hegemo­nic theoretical positions that claim global applicability, though are generally more specific to the Global North. They are unable to address and explain Southern ci­ties and their situatedness in time and place. Hence, they fail to deal with the growing issues of inequality, informality, poverty, and urbanization. By adopting a critical perspective, the course will sti­mulate a re-thinking of the global urbanization trends and planning policies in the context of cities of the Glo­bal South.


The seminar has two components: A. Analysing texts and writing critical reviews and B. Analysing case studies and developing a critical outlook. We will be exploring the contemporary work of authors such as Vanessa Watson, Abdoulmaliq Simone, Edgar Pie­terse and Asef Bayat with the aim to deconstruct and critically analyze their approach towards rethinking the planning theory from a southern perspective. The readings will then be jointly discussed in a workshop format during the studio.


Furthermore, we will use international reference cases (Egypt, South Africa, Bangladesh and Zambia) to identify cross-cutting issues as well as exemplary approaches. In this regard, the course will bring together various disciplinary perspec­tives –geography, history, sociology, governance and urban studies – in an attempt to juxtapose the theore­tical discourse of the first phase with the range of poli­cies and planning approaches that these countries mobilize in order to deal with the externalities of rapid urbanization.