N.b.: all readings are to be completed before class on the date indicated.


August 27, 2019
the city and social science, why careful theory and data collection are central to our project


the history of cities

August 29, 2019
sociocultural evolution and the rise of cities and states
reading: text chapter one

September 3, 2019
the earliest cities
reading: text chapter two

September 5, 2019
medieval cities
Harari, Yuval Noah. 2015. “The Scent of Money.” Chapter Ten in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harper.
(skim) text chapter three

September 10, 2019
industrial cities, global convergence
Harari, Yuval Noah. 2015. “Imperial Visions.” Chapter Eleven in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harper.
(skim) text chapter five



September 12, 2019
urban ecology
reading: text chapter six

September 17, 2019
urban political economy
reading: text chapter seven

September 19, 2019
urban political economy
reading: Austin American-Statesman, “In Depth: Economic Mobility” (a four part series, pay particular attention to part one, “Overview, Inheriting Inequality,” and part three, “Building a Divide”


urban planning

September 24, 2019
pitfalls of planning
reading: text chapter fourteen

September 26, 2019
New Towns
reading: Scheck, Justin, Rory Jones, and Summer Said. 2019. “A Prince’s $500 Billion Desert Dream: Flying Cars, Robot Dinosaurs and a Giant Artificial Moon.” Wall Street Journal July 25.

October 1, 2019
zoning and development codes



October 3, 2019
urbanism and time discipline
reading: Ekirch, A. Roger. 2005. “The Fragility of Authority: Church and State.” Chapter Three in At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. W. W. Norton & Company.

October 8, 2019
clocks, cities, and standardization


midterm exam

October 10, 2019
midterm exam


the car, the suburbs, and sprawl

October 15, 2019
the first cars and the good roads movement
reading: text chapter four

October 17, 2019
the rise of the ‘burbs
reading: Heller, Nathan. 2019, “Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?” New Yorker July 22.

October 22, 2019
the absolute triumph of the suburbs
reading: “Levittown, Building the Suburban Dream” (spend half an hour or so poking around this website)

October 24, 2019
sprawl, traffic, & the soul crushing sameness of it all

October 29, 2019
sprawl, the beloved disaster
reading: text chapter eight


community, social capital, and the urban/rural divide

October 31, 2019
neighborhoods and kinds of community

November 5, 2019
social capital, pros and cons
reading Badger, Emily. 2019. “How the Rural-Urban Divide Became America’s Political Fault Line.” New York Times May 21.

November 7, 2019
the “coastal elite” vs. the “real America”
reading: Williamson, Kevin D. 2018. “We’ll Always Have . . . Fort Worth?” National Review December 9.


gentrification and the housing supply

November 12, 2019
gentrification as revitalization or displacement
reading: Betancur, John. 2011. “Gentrification and Community Fabric in Chicago.” Urban Studies 48(2):383-406.

November 14, 2019
affordable housing
reading: Cooper, Ryan and Peter Gowan. 2019. “How to Solve the Housing Problem.” Jacobin June 4.

November 19, 2019
homelessness: Austin 2019
reading: Smith, Noah. 2019. “Poverty Is a Bigger Problem Than Gentrification.” Bloomberg May 6.

November 21, 2019
gentrification and cultural conflict
reading: skim text chapters ten, eleven, and twelve


the new megacities

November 26, 2019
global population and the theory demographic transition
reading: text chapter thirteen

November 28, 2019
Thanksgiving holiday, classes do no meet

December 3, 2019
the new megacities
Reading: Krulwich, Robert. 2013. “The Big Squeeze: Can Cities Save the Earth?” National Public Radio April 8.
   also review text chapter seven

December 5, 2019
slums, development, and underdeverlopment
reading: Power, Mathew. 2006. “The Magic Mountain.” Harper’s Magazine December:57-68. (You’re going into Alkek’s database here – you’ll have to log in or be on campus. Then click the relevant buttons/links to find the full article.)


final exam

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
final exam