Cities provides many opportunities, however, they are also the source of some of the most important challenges facing society today, including threats to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Urban growth is neither random nor organic; it is the result of a combination of factors, including globalization, corporate strategies, and politics at global, national, and local scales. This course explores the political and economic forces underlying the geography of cities and our ability to shape our urban futures.
In the first part of the course, we review different political-economic theoretical perspectives in urban geography and emphasize the role of globalization, as well as state and economic restructuring in shaping cities. Then, we turn our attention to the politics of urban and community development, focusing on three main areas: (1) environmental sustainability including sprawl, land conservation, and transportation, (2) economic sustainability including fiscal health, revitalization, and job creation and (3) social sustainability including issues of exclusion and marginalization. We emphasize the geographic dimensions of the diverse components of urban sustainability.