Course syllabus


ARK 610, 3.0 ects, Spring term 2020


Course responsible: Kristina Grange

Program: MPDSD

Course PM (version 2020.02.02)
The aim of this course is to further the students’ knowledge about power perspectives shaping the city, and ultimately the society we live in. We will look at how economic, social and political preconditions shape how we currently think about, plan and reproduce the city; what the consequences of these preconditions are for individuals as well as the society; but also how one could think differently about these processes. We will specifically ask questions concerning how architects and planners can relate to these societal issues, in order to contribute to a better world for more people.

The course Urban Planning and Design Theory – Dealing with Inequalities will explore specific theoretical trajectories dealing with issues such as Equality, Gender and Democracy in the City; Segregation and Urban Uprisings; Gentrification, Renovictions and Housing Politics; and The Right to the City. For each seminar there will be a specific theme we deal with and texts we read and discuss jointly and in smaller groups. There will also be suggestions for other readings, in order to enhance each student’s choice of a theme for individual work.

The course will further train the student’s ability to use source texts as a basis for formulating a research question, an individual position, and a line of argument. It will also train the student in analysing arguments laid out in other texts, and appropriately use citation, references and bibliography. Each student will hand in a final academic text of 2000-2200 words, complete with references and a bibliography. Students are required to participate actively in a minimum of 80% of the seminars. Each student’s paper is reviewed and graded after submission at the end of the semester. Hence, there is no chance to rework the essay for a new grading during the course.

Assignments and Pedagogy
For each literature seminar there will be two mandatory texts that will be discussed at the seminar. Each student will have to hand in a short text (1/2 an A4 page) the day before each seminar, in which the texts are analysed. In these assignments one should answer the questions:

- What did I find interesting with these texts?
- What from these texts do I want to take further in my essay?
- After having read these texts, what do I see as a possible line of argument for my own essay?

After having handed in the assignments, the students will be divided into groups of 4 persons. Each student is expected to give comments on one other student’s text, during the group work. The three literature seminars consist of both short lectures, group work, and concluding discussions in class. After the three literature seminars have been held the students will be divided into focus groups, in which the members jointly will discuss and help each other in developing their individual essays. Before the final handing in of the final assignment, there will be an opportunity for individual meetings where the student can raise questions about aim, method and structure of the essay.

Hours in class
4 x 3 = 12

Hours for individual studies


Schedule and Reading list


26th February, 9.00-12.00, room SB-K582
Introduction to the theme, Course representatives, etc.
What is academic reading and writing?
The Film Push, 1h30min

Optional reading:
• Jonas, AEG, McCann, E and Thomas M (2015) Chapter 1, Approaching the City,
    In: Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, p.


Literature Seminar 1 – SEGREGATION
3th March, Hand in of short assignment at Canvas
4th March, 9.00-12.00, room SB-K582
Seminar and group work

Mandatory readings:
• Dikec, M (2017) Chapter 1 and 5, Rage in the Urban Age, and Even in Sweden,
   In: Urban Rage. The Revolt of the Excluded, New Haven and London: Yale
   University Press, p. 1-15 and 130-155.

Optional readings:
• Chadda, A and Wilson, WJ (2011) ‘Way Down in the Hole’: Systemic Urban
    Inequality and The Wire, Critical Inquiry, Vol 38(1): 164-188.
• Davis, M (2004) Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Proletariat,
    New Left Review, 26: 5-34.
• Sernhede, O, Thörn, C, and Thörn, H (2016) The Stockholm Uprising in Context:
    Urban Social Movements in the Demise of the Swedish Wel-fare City. In: Mayer,
    M, Thörn, C & Thörn, H (Eds.) Urban Uprisings. Challenging Neoliberal Urbanism
    in Sweden, London: Palgrave MacMillan, p. 149-173.


Literature Seminar 2 – HOUSING POLITICS
10th March, Hand in of short assignment at Canvas
11th March, 9.00-12.00, room SB-K582, (13.00-17.00, individual work)
Seminar and group work

Mandatory readings:
• Baeten, G, Westin, S, Pull, E and Molina, I (2017) Pressure and Violence:
   Housing renovation and displacement in Sweden, Environment and Planning A,
   49(3): 631-651.
• Harvey, D (2015) Contradiction 1, Use Value and Exchange Value, In: Seventeen
   Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, London: Profile Books, p. 15-24.

Optional readings:
• Hedin, K, Clark, E, Lundholm, E and Malmberg, G (2012) Neoliberalization of
    Housing in Sweden: Gentrification, Filtering and Social Polarization, Annals of
    the Association of American Geographers, 102(2): 443-463.
• Jonas, AEG, McCann, E and Thomas M (2015) Chapter 2, Cities for Whom?, In:
    Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, p. 27-
• Movilla Vega, D and Hallemar, D (2017) 99 Years of the Housing Question in
    Sweden, Lund: Studentlitteratur.


14th April, 8.00-17.00, Individual self studies


Literature Seminar 3 – GENTRIFICATION
21st April, Hand in of short assignment at Canvas
22nd April, 9.00-12.00, room SB-K582 (13.00-17.00, individual work)
Seminar and group work

Mandatory readings:
• Thörn, C, and Holgersson, H (2016) Revisiting the urban frontier through the
   case of New Kvillebäcken, Gothenburg, City, 20(5): 663-684.
• Landzeius, M (2012) Real estate ownership concentration and urban
   governance, In: Larsson, B, Letell, M and Thörn, H (Eds.) Transformations of the
   Swedish Welfare State. From Social Engineering to Governance?, p. 230-245.

Optional readings:
• Harvey, D (2004) The ‘new’ imperialism: Accumulation by dispossession Social
   Register, p. 63-87.
• Holgersson, H, Thörn, C, Thörn, H and Wahlström M (2010) A critical view of
   Gothenburg, In: Holgersson, H, Thörn, C, Thörn, H and Wahlström M (Eds.)
   (re)searching Gothenburg. Essays on a changing city, Gothenburg: Glänta
   production, p. 7-26.
• Tahvilzadeh, N, Montin, S and Cullberg, M (2017) Functions of sustainability:
   exploring what urban sustainability policy discourse ‘does’ in the Gothenburg
   metropolitan area, Local Environment, 22(1): 65-85.
• Thörn, C (2011) Soft Policies of Exclusion: Entrepreneurial Strategiesof
   Ambience and Control of Public Space in Gothenburg, Sweden, Urban
   Geography, 32(7): 989-1008.


30th April, 8.00-17.00, Self study individually and/or in focus groups
6th May, 8.00-17.00, Self study individually and/or in focus groups
13th May, 8.00-17.00, Self study individually and/or in focus groups
22nd May, 8.00-17.00, Self study individually and/or in focus groups


Optional readings for self study and/or focus group work –

Suggested reading:
• Listerborn, C (2016) Feminist struggle over urban safety and the politics of
   space, European Journal of Women’s Studies, 23(3): 251–264.
• Fraser, N (1995) From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a
   ‘Postsocialist’ Age. New Left Review, (212):68-93.

Optional readings:
• Fainstein, S (2009) Spatial justice and planning, Journal on Spatial Justice and
   Planning, 1(1): 58–7
• Soja, E (2010) Prologue, In: Seeking Spatial Justice, Minneapolis: University of
   Minnesota Press, p. vii-xviii.
• Uitermark, J and Nicholls, W (2017) Planning for social justice: Strategies,
   dilemmas, tradeoffs, Planning Theory, 16(1): 32–50.
• Young, IM (1990) Chapter 1, Displacing the Distributive Paradigm, In: Justice
   and the Politics of Difference, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press,


Optional readings for focus group work – THE RIGHT TO THE CITY

Suggested readings:
• Jonas, AEG, McCann, E and Thomas M (2015) Chapter 12, Alternative Urban
   Spaces and Politics, In: Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction, West Sussex:
   Wiley Blackwell, p. 1252-273.
• Bradley, K (2015) Open-Source Urbanism: Creating, Multiplying and Managing
   Urban Commons, Footprint, Spring 2015: 91-108

Optional readings:
• Harvey, D (2008) The right to the city, New Left Review, 53: 23-40.
• Hernberg, H and Mazé, R (2017) Architect/Designer as ‘Urban agent’: A case of
   mediating temporary use in cities, Nordes (7): 1-7,
• Lefebvre H (1968) The right to the city, In: Writings on cities, Massachusett:
   Blackwell, p. 147-149.
• Massey, D (2004) Geographies of responsibility, Geografiska Annaler, 86(1): 5-
• Purcell, M (2003) Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban
   politics of the inhabitant, GeoJournal, 58: 99–108.


13th May, 9.00-12.00, room SB-K582
No booking; meetings on a first come, first served basis


22nd May, 23.59 Deadline for handing in final academic text at Canvas


General course plan
ARK 590-615 History, theory and method,
Elective course 3 hp
Grades: Five, Four, Thee, Failed

The course furthers the students’ knowledge in the history, theory or critical studies of
architecture and urban design. It explores specific theoretical trajectories that shape current
issues in the field. It trains the students’ ability to use source texts as a basis for formulating a
position, argument and/ or research query.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to:)

Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate an understanding of a particular theoretical trajectory in architecture and urban

Abilities and skills
Understand and analyse arguments laid out in theoretical texts.
Use theoretical texts as basis for formulating a position or query.
Appropriately use citation, references and bibliography.

Ability of assessment and attitude
Promote the value (and joy!) of history, theory and critical studies in architecture. Critically relate
their own writing and arguments in the course to larger issues or questions in architecture and
urban design, as outlined in the brief.

The course consists of a series of lectures and seminars that contextualizes and discusses
readings. With the aid of these seminars, and in dialogue with the instructor, students formulate a
topic for their final paper. The final paper should be an academic text of minimum 2.000 words,
complete with references and a bibliography.

The course starts in week 5 of the semester and meets 4-5 times before the end of the semester.
The brief and its context is introduced in an introductory lecture. Learning is structured around a
weekly reading assignment and a seminar or lecture of maximum 3 hours. Deliverables are
defined at the outset of the course through weekly readings, assignments and presentations as
well as in a final paper. Students work individually.

To be announced in a bibliography in each course brief.

Student are required to participate actively in a minimum of 80% of the seminars. Each student
paper is reviewed and graded after submission at the end of the semester.

Course summary:

Date Details