Sociology | Social Problems and Policies, Topic: Envisioning the City
S101 | 13810 | Cornell


Houses, roads, school buildings, street trees, shopping malls,
interstate highways, hedges:  all of these elements make up what
scholars of urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture,
and the environment call "the built environment."  We can ask two
questions about the built environment:  What did people do to create
it?  How does it affect human behavior?  In S101 you will lean how
to identify the various components of the built environment and how
to analyze them.  For example, as we walk down an alley you might
notice that the residential end has canopy, sub-canopy, and
understory trees, while the commercial end has only canopy trees
surrounded by pavement.  You will use the knowledge you gain through
this analysis to design landscapes which respond to specific social
problems.  For example, if commercial areas had the same mix of
trees as residential ones do, they would be much more habitable
places.  You will also read about the history of cities, about the
political and economic forces which create them, and about
contemporary problems in cities.  The course will consider cities
all over the world, and through history.  This is a studio-style
course.  You will spend your time visiting sites in Bloomington,
drawing maps and graphs of those sites, analyzing yours and others=
work, and presenting your work in class.  For example, you might
take photographs, make drawings, plot out a map, or construct a
model to answer a question such as "Who is on the streets on Tuesday
at midnight?"  Two of the three portfolio projects involve designing
new environments for those sites which respond to specific social
problems.  Bloomington, Indiana is not the topic of this course.
However, since it is nearby, and since its social problems are like
those in many other cities, it will be the principal field site for
the course.