Over half the world lives in cities. Climate Change is a grand challenge of the 21st century. Urban landscapes offer a dynamic palimpsest of the cultural, economic and political experiences and aesthetic values as well as the ecological systems and networks. How do we engage and address the complexities of cities and the environment, culture and nature, past and future? Urban environmental histories engage social, ecological, economic, and cultural histories to develop narratives of the cities we live in.
This course considers how urban environmental histories are shaped and produced, through the lens of seven American cities and their histories. Students will engage in reading, mapping, and research as we consider urban histories globally and as they inform American cities. We will explore intersections of history writing and representation via maps, drawings, and films. As a culminating project, students will curate an online exhibit on Seattle's urban environmental history as a final project. This course is recommended for those wishing to explore how urban histories and environmental narratives are shaped and how we might engage these explorations in thinking about our urban futures as designers, planners, and informed citizens.