Japanese Urbanism

History/Theory

Spring 2013

Lynne Breslin, instructor

The class was conducted as a laboratory. Tokyo was studied and situated in the seeming contradiction of the globalization of technologies and romantically preserved particularities. We began with Edo and demonstrated its basis and diversion from other Japanese cities in the early seventeenth century. The course focused on the modern city and concentrated on the tension of western influence and modernism, the twin spears and legacy of Meiji Japan. The ideas, forms and formulations studied directed in class presentations and research. Visual analysis of artifacts, such as maps, advertisements, photographs and art were also used.  Students were responsible for two small assignments and one major class presentation.  For the second half of the course, students were asked to locate a map of a Japanese city from any period and read the map for the class. The goal was to help students read a different culture, through its most complex form—a city.