City as Assemblage

Urban Planning

Fall 2012

Robert Beauregard, instructor

The purpose of this course was to explore how human and non-human realities are intertwined in the making, re-making and un-making of cities. The focus was on the materiality of buildings, infrastructures, structures such as billboards, “natural” forms, people, plant and animal life. The course had a perspective derived from actor-network theory and other writings on urban assemblages, “vibrant matter,” cyborg urbanism, infrastructure and development and urban ecology. The goal was to provide the student with an historical, holistic and profoundly materialistic understanding of the evolution of cities that gives precedence to networks or assemblages of human and non-human things. Explicitly rejected was that intervention involves active humans—acting alone—engaging the passive materiality of the city.