Seen From The South : ETH Zürich gta 2023
7 March, 2023
Our understanding of how urban designers and architects can design cities is still largely shaped by Western urban conditions and perspectives. In particular, the European city, with its steady and controlled growth, has long served as the backdrop against which new urban design methods and tools have been developed. As scholars who advocate a decentring and reframing of the broadest conceptualisations of the urban have argued, the history of urban design is still based on the dichotomy of ‘First World‘ model cities that generate new theories versus problematic ‘Third World‘ cities that need correction. However, if our urban theories remain anchored in this Euro-American experience, we will be unable to analyse and understand the heterogeneity of urbanisms around the world.
To overcome this asymmetrical ignorance by recalibrating the gaze, course readings, lectures and class discussions will focus on urban theories developed in cities in Latin America, Africa and Asia to illustrate that urbanism and urbanisation are not the prerogative of the Western world.
To highlight alternative canons of knowledge that have been marginalised or dismissed due to (neo)colonial power structures, yet are crucial for understanding the design and production of cities.
To expand our knowledge of urban design, interrogate its assumptions, and broaden our intellectual horizons to include a wider range of perspectives, by studying urban theories based on cities that develop according to different logics and produce different urban experiences.