Taubman College

Course List

Term Winter 2012
Class ARCH 509
Class Title Cultivators and Other Implements
Description In recent years, since industry’s global reordering, significant credence has been ascribed to creativity as a paradigmatic self-help model capable of economic regeneration, urban renewal and community building. But as the current economic environment has grown progressively more turbulent, policy makers, planners and cultural critics have nurtured an evolving skepticism of the “creative city” strategy and its promise of tangible prosperity. This two-semester course plans to treat the current economic climate opportunistically in the exploration of potential collaborations, overlaps, alliances and interventions that may prove transformative beyond the statistical gage of productivity.

Within the framework of a workshop, the course will: (1)investigate the material and symbolic place of cultural infrastructure in contemporary urban landscapes, (2) assess art’s catalytic potential as a strategy for the reactivation of slumped cities, and (3) consider both the instrumental and less entrepreneurial manifestations of arts and culture within strategies of urban regeneration.

In the first phase of research, we will produce a typological catalogue of emergent cultural practices, arts initiatives, institutional projects and pop interventions that engage and challenge the place of contemporary culture in urban economic growth. Examples will be drawn from a wide range of domestic and international projects, both official and informal, and will operate as a tactical tool set for future analysis. In parallel, the group will explore the state of Michigan as a speculative case study, assembling an extensive contemporary survey of its culture and urban landscape.

The course will focus on building an informed and critical understanding of contemporary cultural practices as they manifest themselves socially and spatially in urban life. Lectures and reading will draw from multidisciplinary sources and will be supplemented by intensive field work and conversations with the artists, historians, policy-makers, architects, landscape architects and activists involved in the design and implementation of transformative urban strategies. During the course of the workshop, students will be assembling an in-progress publication which will include essays, diagrammatic analysis, maps and photographic documentation.

In the final phase of the sequence, students will be asked to apply their critical understanding of diverse cultural infrastructure, public policy and economy to speculative design projects that engage current and projected initiatives across the state.

Prereq Permission of Instructor
Crosslist none
Required No
Elective Yes
Selective No
Meets This course is a continuation of the Fall 2011 course.

Wednesdays 9:00am-12:00pm 2222 A&AB
Credits 3
Faculty Anya Sirota, Monica Ponce de Leon
Syllabus Arch509_Sirota_PoncedeLeon_Winter12[1].pdf