Southern Urbanism

Contestation of the global relevance of norms and processes of urban development planning in high-income countries has highlighted the importance of understanding urbanism as practiced and experienced in cities of the “global South” – including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Even while acknowledging how such geographic proxies or typologies of cities are delimiting, this class aims to guide students in examining implicit and explicit values of diversity offered in “Southern” knowledge bases, theories, and practices of urban production.  The South-centered location of the estimated global urban population boom obligate us to examine how cities, in this class particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, work as they do and why Western-informed urban theory and planning scholarship may be ill-suited to provide guidance on urban development there.  In particular, the class examines the “rise of the rest” and its implications for the making and remaking of expertise and norms in planning practice.  Students will engage with and become familiar with seminal texts from leading authors of Southern urbanism and critical themes or debates of development, including the rise of Southern theory, African urbanism, Chinese international cooperation, Brazilian urban diplomacy, and the globally-driven commodification of urban real estate.