Elective / Seminar

Critical Perspectives on 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. In the first one 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.

In the second component, we will use international reference cases (Bangladesh, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia and Oman) to identify crosscutting 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.