Urban Culture and Public Space

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Urban Culture and Public Space

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Urban Studies and Planning

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course will make students:
    1 become familiar with the theoretical notions of urban culture and public space, and with the design aspects and the implicit methods of inclusion and exclusion that are connected to these notions.
    2 learn to analyze urban space, the objectives of its designers and the ways in which citizens put public space to use.
    3 learn to connect historical, sociological and anthropological concepts with primary sources. You train how to analyze public space through observation.
    4 improve academic skills by writing an annotated essay and by presenting your findings to peers.

    Public space is omnipresent in our daily existence. An important part of it takes place in our cities’ streets, squares and public buildings. This is where we meet friends and strangers, encounter new ideas and products, commemorate and celebrate, discuss our worries us or enjoy the moment.

    This course focuses on the multifaceted relationship between public space and urban culture by taking into account the (historical and contemporary) intentions and experiences of designers, commissioners and users. We will ask ourselves what the terms urban culture and public space can mean in different times and cultures. Next, we will look into the relationship between the intentions and ideals of the ‘makers’ of public space – architects, urbanists and commissioners - and the perception and ideals of its users - the public itself.

    The course offers a kaleidoscopic journey into the past and present of our everyday living environment, probing into the question what public space can be, how it comes into being and how it is transformed. We will study prevailing writings on urban culture and public space and investigate case studies, both in lectures and on site.

    Lectures, seminars and excursions.

    Matching of assignments and course aims:
    Course aim 1 will be assessed through written assignments and a final, annotated essay.
    Course aim 2 will be assessed through oral presentations and written assignments
    Course aim 3 will be assessed through: will be assessed through oral presentations and written assignments
    Course aim 4 will be assessed through: oral presentations, written assignments and an annotated essay

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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