Gender and Planning: A Critical Lens for the Theory and Practice of Planning

Cities in the globalized world have become sites for a multiplicity of cultures, economies, political regimes and social constructions in which the notions of femininities and masculinities and of the roles of women and men have changed. Paradoxically, the structures and cultures of cities also have the potential to inscribe onto each of us normative gender and sexuality expectations and assumptions. Through overview readings in planning practice as well as feminist and queer theory, urban theory, social history, geography, and sociology we will explore how gender and sexuality are constitutive of, and are constituted by, urban form and everyday urban life. Through this exploration, we will encounter and develop new understandings and explanations for some of the changes which have taken place in cities across time, from various spatial and political scales. In particular, the course will provide planning students with an overview of some of the most current and pivotal planning debates with an emphasis on building a gender and the city analytic. During weekly discussions students will actively participate in facilitating and developing analytical skills towards comprehending how gender roles and identities affect, and are affected by, urban spaces and relationships (politics, laws, design, etc.). The space and structure of the course will reflect its objectives towards inclusiveness, mutual understanding and equality -- therefore we will create a democratic, consensus-based classroom process. Although we provide the framework for the course, including suggested topics and readings, we expect to revise and flesh out the course as needed and desired over the half semester. Towards this goal, we will use a consensus-based process of decision-making i.e. we strive towards decisions that will satisfy each participant, e.g. for a structure that works for everyone involved in the class. There are no prerequisites for the course, however, we do assume an abiding interest in values and ethics-based planning and a collaborative orientation. This is a Pass/No Credit course and attendance is required (no more than 2 absences). Deliverables for a Pass will be defined throughout the course in consultation with course participants, with an expectation that several options will be made available. First class 9/12; Last class 10/31.