The Urban Question

In this lesson by LaSUR, the essentially urban nature of the research context forces students to acquire - if he or she has not already done so through earlier studies in the field of urban research (town planning, architecture, urban sociology and anthropology, environmental science, civil engineering, etc.) – a certain familiarity with "the urban question".
Urban studies is by definition a paradoxical site of pluridisciplinary scientific research, and long architecture or town planning studies will not necessarily have made you familiar enough with its complexites. A feeling for the

  • dynamics of social and spatial production in urban areas, for the
  • macro- and micro-social changes in cities, for its
  • unpredictability and for the
  • occasionally chaotic movements of its organisations

can be a better basis for studying urban questions in an unsettled environment than the knowledge that comes from over-confidence in planning and plans, or even from too much theoretical knowledge.

The manner in which we propose to approach the urban question in this lesson stems not only from our scientific knowledge (which we shall share with you), but also from real-life experience in the field and in the cities of the South.

You have filled in an on-line questionnaire on the learning platform to evaluate your level of experience and in it you indicated your "urban background". If you need to make up for a gap or two in your knowledge, we will provide you with extra theoretical and methodological material. The reading time is not included in the 5 hours of this lesson.

Nevertheless, the fundamental issue for this type of lesson is your own motivation to explore real cities!

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