Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 29; Last Class: March 11.
This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell—the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places—and the way they are represented in literature and other media—shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place "quality," and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s Landscape in Sight , Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place , James Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere , D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land , Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities , and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan .