Housing Theory and Public Policy: Understanding Urban Settlement and Occupation
Instructor: Hussain Indorewala | As Taught in Spring 2019 | Level Bachelor of Architecture, final year
The housing struggle is a struggle over meaning. Housing means different things to different people. As a home, it is for many a site of social reproduction. For many others, as basic shelter, it is the first foothold in a city. It may be shaped by the expertise of professionals, but it may also be built by the hands of its inhabitants. For some, it is a source of status and wealth; for some others, it is an instrument of social control. It provides work to those who construct it, manage it and maintain it. It produces profit for those who invest in it, and income for those who let it. It is taxed by the state and often spent on. It is an extension of the body, offering privacy and security, but is often a site for oppression and exploitation. It is often organized to segregate and isolate, but sometimes it also serves to empower and resist. For dwellers, it unlocks a whole range of social, cultural and political worlds. But most of all, it offers the possibility of freedom, identity and individuality.
This course aims to equip students with the ability to frame and formulate the question of urban dwelling from the perspective of public policy, and develop the ability to analyze public policy through an understanding of the theory and practice of urban settlement and occupation. It will help students examine urban housing through various conceptual frameworks, and understand both historically and in the contemporary period, the various contestations over its meaning and value, its mode of production, its use and control, its form and shape, and access and inclusion. It will also touch upon the institutional sociology of urban policy making.
After completion of this course:
Students will be introduced to methods to be able to frame the housing question historically, discursively and comparatively, and place the contemporary and future challenges to expand access to housing in the light of past experiences and experiments.
Students will be able to critically analyze housing policies from theoretical and practical perspectives, in order to identify (potential) impacts on urban dwelling
Understand the role that various actors, movements and institutions play in shaping housing discourse and practice
Become acquainted with the concepts, categories and frameworks adopted in the debates on housing and urban settlement
Students will be able to understand the scope and limits of the various progressive arguments for housing such as: social justice, rights, self-help, occupancy, equity, inclusion, discrimination.
Student Workload (25 hours ~ 1 ECTS)
On average, a student is expected to spend a total of about 100 hours (~ 4 ECTS) for this course, summing up all class time, reading time and time for assignments.
The course will be a weekly lecture and discussion seminar, of 3 hours per session. Each session will be organized in the form of structured discussions on the session theme, based on the set of readings provided to students (as a course reader). Students will provided a list of compulsory and recommended readings, which they will be expected to read every week, and discuss in groups in class. Resource persons and guest lectures may be organized for some specific themes.
This course requires a student to have successfully completed minimum 4 years of the undergraduate course in architecture, planning, urban studies or related fields.
Apart from weekly reading and preparation for discussion, each student will be required to submit a position paper of about 3000 words at the end of the course, which they will build over the term, and submit as working drafts twice during the semester.
Attendance (20%); class participation, discussion and preparation (30%); position paper as 2 drafts during the semester: (30%); final submission and evaluation of position paper (20%).