First slide

IHP/Comparative: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fal)

IHP/Comparative: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fall)

Explore how geography, politics, economics, and culture shape social relations and the built environment — and with what consequences — in cities across the globe.

This program combines an innovative urban studies curriculum with fieldwork involving key actors and stakeholders — public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots organizations. Students spend time in four cities across the globe to better understand the interconnected social, physical, economic, environmental, and political systems affecting urban environments. In addition, students complete an independent comparative research project on a topic of their choosing.

Key Questions:

  • Though human needs may be similar around the globe, why does a city's ability to satisfy those needs vary?
  • How do people create a sense of place, of community, of urban identity?
  • What historical and sociocultural contexts frame the opportunities, constraints, and uncertainties of urban life?
  • What must be done — and by whom — to move toward ecologically sustainable cities?
  • What are the opportunities for political action by individuals, community organizations, social movements, and local governments to shape city life?
 

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

United States: New York, NY
(2 weeks)

The program starts in arguably the most prominent “world” city in the United States. In New York, students will meet classmates and faculty and be introduced to field experiences by exploring neighborhoods, visiting nongovernmental organizations, and hearing from public officials. The world journey commences with a discussion of local conditions and issues as well as an acknowledgment that while every city is local, it is also a piece of the global puzzle.

Brazil: São Paulo
(4 weeks)

cityBrazil provides an excellent opportunity to see how participation, democracy, and a mobilized citizenry affect change. In multi-ethnic São Paulo, the largest urban area in South America, public infrastructure takes aggressive steps forward, but never seems to catch up to the expanding city’s growing needs. Land and water are plentiful, but how much is available to the secluded rich, the hard-working middle class, or the tenuous poor remains a question.

South Africa: Cape Town
(5 weeks)

In Cape Town, see how a society that was grossly unequal by design is attempting to transform itself into one that provides equal economic opportunity for all. Contrast the awe-inspiring beauty of Table Mountain of Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans’ currents meet, and the charming cobblestone streets of the bustling Green Market Square with apartheid-legacy townships such as Langa, Khayelitsha, Joe Slovo Park, Guguletu, Nyanga, and the Cape Flats. Observe effective community radio stations, food cooperatives, informal traders, taxi companies, and the variety of small businesses, art, crafts, music, and vibrant personalities that make township culture thrive. Meet with government leaders, social activists, and academics from local universities, all involved with transforming Cape Town in the wake of apartheid. There will be a one-week vacation in South Africa.

Vietnam: Hanoi
(5 weeks)

Rising from poverty and isolation, Hanoi offers examples of rapid human adaptation and resilience. With decades of war all but vanished, a new paradigm of local identity and international connectivity is being tested. Tension grows between the use of public resources for community and environmental benefit or commercial development and private profit. Meanwhile, the basic form of the traditional city—dense, narrow, and vertical—invites examination of the use, purpose, and expectations of public space.

Prerequisites:

None, but previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in urban studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, or other related fields is strongly recommended.

Access Virtual Library Guide

The program takes a holistic, interdisciplinary view of academic topics, drawing not only on articles and faculty lectures, but also student observations, guest lectures, and homestay interviews to facilitate learning. Assignments typically involve written essays, oral presentations, and more creative projects such as posters and photo stories.

Students enrolled on this program take all courses listed below for a total course load of 16 credits.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Urban Politics and Development – syllabus
(DVST 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Cities are simultaneously centers of individual opportunity and civic engagement and sites of inequality and economic disparity. In this course students explore, question, and critique the intersection of politics and development in cities at multiple scales, from local to global, and examine how related institutions, policies, and processes shape the evolution of cities.

Culture and Society of World Cities – syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
This course examines the many ways people make urban life meaningful. What are the historical, political-economic, and sociocultural contexts that frame the opportunities, constraints, and uncertainties of urban life? How do people create a sense of place, of community, or of urban identity? An emphasis is placed on how anthropologists have adjusted their research methods in response to the study of urban life, and a specific focus is placed on providing students with the tools necessary to conduct preliminary fieldwork in urban areas.

Urban Planning and Sustainable Environments – syllabus
(URST 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
As the pace of urbanization increases in developing countries, the process of modernization and globalization often seems at odds with traditional, and frequently sustainable, systems of land and energy use. This course introduces key concepts about the history, theory, and practice of urban planning and sustainability. It emphasizes how the physical elements of cities are related to and interact with the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of cities.

Contemporary Urban Issues – syllabus
(URST 3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
This research and methods seminar is designed to give students the tools to identify and analyze challenges common to cities across continents and cultures, and to distinguish such challenges from others that are rooted in particular histories and human geographies. It is also focused on developing in students the ability to make meaningful comparisons, particularly concerning configurations of political, economic, and social power as they are manifested in urban space. Using these tools, students have an opportunity to pursue individual comparative research on topics of their own choosing. The course will be co-taught by all faculty to emphasize the multi-disciplinary analysis of issues and integrate the experience-based learning of the semester.

These letters home are from previous terms. Site locations may vary from term to term.

Letters Home: Cities (Fall)

October 21, 2014
Letter Home from Sao Paulo, Brazil
A Letter Home from students on the IHP Cities in the 21st Century Fall 2014 Track 1 program: Introduced and edited by Mae Stover, Brown University We are so excited to be writing to you from Cape Town, South Africa! Before arriving in this beautiful city, we began our adventure back in August in New York City, […]
January 14, 2014
Letter Home from the Fall 2013 Cities in the 21st Century program
A Letter Home from students on the Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics program: Edited by: Ciara Stein We are a learning community shaped by the people who are part of it: program directors, administrators, country coordinators, faculty, different lecturers, nameless assistants, homestay families, street vendors, the people who we have meet all […]

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

Tabitha Decker, PhD, Program Director

DeckerTabitha is a sociologist with extensive experience conducting comparative research on cities. She earned a BA with honors in international relations from Wellesley College and a PhD in sociology from Yale University.

Tabitha’s recent research and publications focus on interrelated aspects of social and spatial change, and she is particularly interested in urban transportation. Her dissertation, completed with fieldwork support from a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and the Social Science Research Council, investigates the planning and realization of the Dubai Metro. This project uses the metro, specifically why and how it was created, as a probe into Dubai’s transnational boom-time social and economic foundations.

Research and study have taken her to several cities in the Middle East, including Dubai, Damascus, and Sana'a. A former Thomas J. Watson fellow, Tabitha conducted an ethnographic study of female taxi drivers in Cape Town, Dubai, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur. Her urban research trajectory was launched on an SIT Study Abroad program (Gender and Development in India) where she completed an independent study of an all-female police station in Mysore. She returned to SIT as a traveling faculty member on IHP Cities in 2012. Tabitha resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Meghan Phadke, MA, Program Manager

Meghan Phadke is a New York City public school teacher and alumna of the Cities program. She has spent the last six years working in a high-poverty public school in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood where she built, from the ground up, a comprehensive music program that now serves over 400 students. In this role, she has worked closely with arts foundations and nonprofits as well as city arts agencies in order to obtain, and maintain, resources.

Meghan completed her master’s degree in urban affairs in the fall of 2013. She is interested in issues surrounding the building and sustaining of educational reform, in particular, the use of participatory processes and the privatization of educational services. Meghan was a Trustees Fellow in the spring of 2014 and will continue in this role with the spring 2015 Cities cohort.

Glenda de la Fuente, MA, Country Coordinator, Brazil

GlendaGlenda de la Fuente holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and a postgraduate degree from King’s College, University of London, in applied linguistics and English language teaching. She was a professor for and coordinator of the extracurricular English program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she was in charge of teacher training courses. Since 1987, she has been a member of the Humanist Movement, an international volunteer organization engaged in the promotion of equity and human rights worldwide; through this work, she has served as a lecturer and promoter of grassroots groups committed to the principles of nonviolence and nondiscrimination in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil. Born in Argentina, for the last nine years she has lived in São Paulo, where she currently works as a freelance conference interpreter and translator. She also promotes humanist education programs with community-based groups. She has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program since 2008, and since 2010 she has also coordinated the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Health and Community program in São Paulo.

Mia Goldblatt, Country Coordinator: Cape Town, South Africa

GoldblattMia has travelled extensively and has visited, among others, beautiful countries like New Zealand, Scotland, Norway, Australia, Botswana, Wales, Sweden, Namibia, and Israel. She has lived in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, and Jerusalem and has finally come home to roost in Cape Town, where she was born. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a diploma in public relations from the London School of Public Relations. However, her passion has always been within the tourism and hospitality industries, and she has worked in hotels, on a cruise ship, and within event management and corporate relocation. She currently runs her own lifestyle management business, where she assists busy people and small businesses with organizing their chaos. Mia loves the outdoors and hiking in the mountains of Cape Town. Mia has been involved with the Cities in the 21st Century program since 2010 as an assistant country coordinator.

Liem T. Nguyen, PhD, Country Coordinator: Vietnam

Liem NguyenLiem is a sociologist and demographer who was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he continues to live and work. He earned a master’s degree and PhD in sociology from Brown University in 2001 and 2004 respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute under the National University of Singapore between 2004 and 2005. Liem was a founding member of the Institute of Population, Health and Development and has been the institute’s deputy director since 2009. He worked for the Government's Institute of Sociology under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences between 1996 and 2011.

His major areas of interest include migration, urbanization, and health. He is particularly interested in the dynamics and interactions among those three areas within the context of rapid economic development. Liem has broad research and consultancy experience with government institutions, local organizations, NGOs, and international organizations, including the Department for International Development (UK), the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Care International, Population Council, and the United States Agency for International Development.

Sally Frankental, PhD, Traveling Faculty

FrankentalSally Frankental is a sociocultural anthropologist who taught at the University of Cape Town for many years. She directed the university’s Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research from 1980 to 1992. Her current research interests are in the areas of migration, identity, ethnicity, and citizenship. Her association with the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program (since 1999) has been facilitated by her teaching of anthropology of development and applied anthropology, her supervision of a wide variety of graduate students’ research projects conducted locally, and the consultancy work she has done for the city of Cape Town. Her book South Africa’s Diverse Peoples (with Dr. Owen Sichone), commissioned as part of a series specifically for American university and public libraries, was published by ABC-CLIO in 2005. She was a founding member of the anti-apartheid organization Jews for Justice

Nick Allen,Trustees Fellow

Nick Allen is an urbanization and global environmental change researcher in the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His research uses archival, geospatial, and ethnographic methods to understand the political economy of infrastructure development and land-use change in fast-urbanizing regions of South and Southeast Asia. He is interested in the incongruity of planning ideologies and everyday urban growth. Nick was a student on IHP Cities three years ago and received a BA from Yale University.

Vietnam Homestay

Students live with a host family for between two and four weeks at each program site, with the exception of the first US location. Homestays are the primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels.

Homestay families provide students with the opportunity to live as integrated members of their host communities. In sharing daily life, conversations, family stories, celebrations, and community events, students not only learn a tremendous amount, but also develop lasting friendships.

Family structures vary in every place, and SIT values the diversity of homestay families. For example, the host family may include a single mother of two small children or a large extended family with many people coming and going all the time. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what one expects. Students will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.

Country coordinators in each location arrange homestay placements. In most cases, students will be placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. Students do not receive information about homestay families until they arrive in each country.

  • IHP/Comparative: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fall) is available only in the Fall semester.
  • The Fall 2015 semester generally begins in Late August and ends in Early December.

The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 1, 2015

 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: Not yet available.

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Content and logistics for field programs in New York City, São Paulo, Cape Town, and Hanoi 
  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Urban Planning and Sustainable Environments
    • Culture and Society of World Cities
    • Urban Politics and Development
    • Contemporary Urban Issues
  • Guest lectures and panel discussions
  • Site visit hosts and facilitators
  • Transportation to classroom spaces and daily program activities
  • All educational excursions and final program retreat, including all related travel costs
  • Traveler’s health insurance throughout the entire program period 
  • Instructional materials
  • Other direct program costs

Airfare: Not yet available.

  • Group airfare during the program

Room & Board: Not yet available.

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in all four countries, all excursions, and the final retreat. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay. 
  • All homestays in São Paulo, Cape Town, and Hanoi 
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.  

Estimated Additional Costs:

Domestic Airfare to Program Launch Site

Domestic airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: Not yet available.

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during a semester abroad vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

 

SIT, 1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676
802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Copyright 2014. World Learning. All rights reserved.

Site Map

Back to top