Critical Urban Studies
Prerequisite: CHSS/SOC 1110 Invitation to Sociology OR SOC 1150 Hong Kong Society
As a result of continuous urbanization, especially in the developing countries, the majority of the world's population today does not only live in cities, but in large metropolitan city-regions of more than one million inhabitants. This concentration of population in the 400 metropolitan city-regions in the world causes dramatic changes in the form and function of cities: in the ways the urban political economy is organized; in the cultural composition of the population; and in the very nature of urbanism as a way of life. These changes have stimulated new ways to understand the city and the urbanization process. This introductory course on urban studies showcases how urban scholars analyze and interpret the restructuring of the metropolitan city-regions. Instead of simply describing the various functions of the city-regions, we will take a more critical perspective in analyzing the major problems in our modern city-regions. After taking this course, students should be able to re-discover the hidden and marginalized voices in our fast-growing city-regions today. Specific attention will be given to the city-regions in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.