Spring 2022

Introduction to Urban Sociology: Invention of the Urban Space

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as SOCI-211  |  Architectural Studies, as ARCH-211


Utku B. Balaban (Section 01)


(Offered as SOCI 211 and ARCH 211) All urban spaces are invented by the users of those spaces. Following this axiom, this course introduces the basic concepts and themes of urban space theories and then discusses these concepts and themes within the historical context of the invention of mental and physical urban spaces.

Reviewing the basic foundational notions of urban ecology, political economy, and urban planning, we will discuss contrasting urban utopias that underlie different spatial inventions from the nineteenth century and beyond. Then, we will move to ethnographic and historical works that focus on key urban spaces, including suburbia, social housing, slums/barrios/gecekondus, ghettoes, and global cities. We will also discuss the idea of whether the nation state itself is an urban space invented to contextualize other urban spaces.

Along with these discussions, we will review some of the important datasets on cities collected by key agencies and institutions such as GaWC and Eurostat Urban Audits. Students will use these materials to analyze urban spaces during the semester. Students will gain new skills to contemplate social relations through the prism of spatial dynamics and to investigate related empirical questions with the assistance of different data sources.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Associate Professor Balaban.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, oral presentations, group work, independent research. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022