The Suburbs: Divided We Sprawl

Schools of Public Engagement: University Urban Studies

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
The Suburbs: Divided We Sprawl
Spring 2023
Taught By: Rachel Heiman
Section: A

CRN: 13236

Credits: 3

With housing developments bordering dairy farms, office parks adjoining urban centers, and New Urbanism projects flanking strip malls, it is often difficult to demarcate suburban, urban, and rural in the United States. In their article, “Divided We Sprawl,” Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley suggest that we shed these divides and imagine ourselves as part of a metropolitan whole. At stake are not just interrelated problems of transportation, housing, education, food, jobs, and the environment. With “frantic privacy” winning out over “spontaneous public life,” what becomes of our ability to mingle in crowds, encounter differences, and collectively tackle societal problems? In this course, we explore history, culture, politics, and design of metropolitan centers, from the vantage point of the suburbs. Beginning with the origin of the Anglo-American suburb in Britain and its colonies in the 18th-century, we work our way to contemporary debates about racial segregation, gated communities, and suburban redesign. We examine tensions between “public” and “private” in spaces ranging from living rooms and lawns to highways and malls. Readings include historical texts, ethnographic accounts, sociological commentaries, popular culture parodies, and period films. Student projects further explore these issues through an in-depth examination of a suburb of their own choosing.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: University Urban Studies (UURB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:12am EDT 9/29/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Wednesday
Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 501
Date Range: 1/25/2023 - 5/10/2023