First slide

IHP/Comparative: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fall 2)

IHP/Comparative: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fall 2)

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.

Argentina: Buenos Aires
(4 weeks)

The cosmopolitan capital city of Buenos Aires has a history with an enduring legacy: European-influenced architecture, an extraction economy, large landowners, an influential Catholic church, charismatic political leadership and military dictatorships, a tradition of public protest, and a cultural heritage embedded in the tango. Underlying it all are the complex lives of a diverse society where former owners now work to survive and former workers now manage retaken factories.

SenegalSenegal: Dakar
(5 weeks)

Senegal is a fascinating mix of African and Francophone traditions embedded in decades of stable democracy. From traditional rhythms to modern beats, music infuses daily life. Dakar, the capital city, is undergoing rapid change as it accepts new immigrants, constructs new infrastructure and expands its position as a thriving global crossroad. There will be a one-week vacation in Senegal.

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. Syllabi are typically updated just before the start of the program. 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.

This course examines a variety of structural elements and processes, including relationships between municipal and regional institutions, privatization, community development, economic growth, industrial restructuring, informal economy, and poverty and income distribution. We will pay particular attention to these guiding questions: What economic, social, and political factors (local, national, and international) shape the development/organization of cities? Who exercises power in cities and what are their sources of power? Whose voices are considered relevant in the discussion of what the city could be? In the Urban Politics and Development course, we will explore how and why urban development is a tension filled, conflictual process that occurs at multiple scales.

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? In addressing these questions, we will explore the core concepts and conceptual frameworks that anthropologists and sociologists use to understand lived experience in cities. Our study of social and cultural urban processes emphasizes the relationship of space to identity and power. The course examines aspects of identity, including race and ethnicity, gender, class, family, and citizenship. In each city, we will grapple with conflicts, struggles, and celebrations that are embedded in and emerge from specific historical, socio-economic, and political contexts. We will examine cities as physical and imagined spaces, exploring how spatial and social life are mutually shaped, and how the meanings of cities are multiple and contested by different groups and actors with often incompatible agendas.

Urban Planning and Sustainable Environments – syllabus
(URST 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)

Within cities we find key challenges to long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability; processes of exclusion and deepened inequalities are occurring at such a scale that new geographies of power and injustice arise. In this context, planning and socio-spatial practices have become key instruments to understanding and intervening in complex realities that require both physical and social comprehension.

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. This course is taught by locally based faculty.

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 and country coordinators to emphasize the multi-disciplinary analysis of issues and to 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 (Fall2)

December 15, 2014
Letter Home from Hanoi, Viet Nam
A Letter Home from students on the Fall 2014 Track 1 of IHP Cities in the 21st Century: Written by Dimitri Antoniou, Alina Aksiyote Benardete, Elena Crowe, and Cinneah El-Amin Photos by QiHan Wong and Anselmo Fuentes Xin chào từ Việt Nam!  In this final month, we’ve reflected on the beauty and chaos of Hanoi […]
December 1, 2014
Letter Home from Dakar, Senegal
A Letter Home from the Fall 2014 Cities in the 21st Century Track 2 Students: Nanga def from Senegal— hello from Senegal! The past month has been an entirely different experience from our time in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From weather to home stays, we had a month full of sunshine and new experiences. We’re grateful […]
November 14, 2014
Letter Home from Buenos Aires
A letter home from Fall 2014’s IHP Cities in the 21st Century Track 2 Program: Hola from Argentina! These past four weeks have truly been an adventure for the group.  Between joining our new homestays and learning about the rich culture through dance and food, we’ve found that Buenos Aires is more than just the “Paris of Latin […]

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.

 

Decker

Tabitha Decker, PhD, Program Director

Tabitha 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.

Liem T. Nguyen, PhD, Country Coordinator: Vietnam

LiemLiem 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.

Waly Faye, MA, Country Coordinator, SenegalWaly Faye
Waly Faye is a development manager. He has been coordinating study abroad programs at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, since 2007, and he has coordinated several faculty development programs in Senegal. He has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities in the 21st Century in Dakar since 2010. Waly has significant experience in international development and international education as well as experience planning field trips. He has a deep understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural environments of Senegal through working with many NGOs and grassroots organizations in different areas of the country. Waly holds a master’s degree in development projects management and is finishing another MA in public administration. Waly is interested in public financial management, international development, and urbanization.

Carolina Rovetta, MA, Country Coordinator, Argentina
RovettaCarolina holds a five-year degree in arts from the University of Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in contemporary cinema and theater. She has been working in the field of international education for many years. Carolina is in charge of designing academic and immersion programs in Argentina for students and institutions from abroad. Her focus is on the interaction between academic content and cultural sensitivity. She is very interested in arts and culture and works as a cultural facilitator for the city of Buenos Aires. She has written several pedagogical guides on cultural activities in immersion. Ms. Rovetta serves as an academic advisor for American students studying abroad in Argentina. She first began working with IHP in 2005 and helped establish the Cities in the 21st Century and Health and Community programs in Buenos Aires.

Rick Miller, PhD & MArch, Traveling Faculty – P&D
Rick MillerRick lectures on world cultures and urbanization processes in the UCLA Department of Geography, where he received his PhD. Trained as both an architect and a social scientist, Rick researches people and the landscapes they construct and inhabit. He promotes on-site investigation using multiple methods of visual and ethnographic inquiry. His dissertation, “Nomadic and domestic: dwelling on the edge of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,” with fieldwork support from FLAS and Fulbright fellowships, explores how the building of informal settlements reshapes both landscape and society in Inner Asia. This research contributes toward better analysis of housing and land tenure issues for rural-to-urban migrants, who increasingly underpin urbanization in developing economies. Rick maintains several ongoing projects on city-building: in colonial-era Rangoon, early modern Los Angeles, and contemporary China.

On the side, Rick is a member of the Compton Cricket Club—a team comprised of homeless men from downtown Los Angeles and at-risk youth from Compton.

Sabina Uffer, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Sabina UfferSabina holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Geneva and a PhD in urban and regional planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). During her studies in London, she taught LSE undergraduate students Methods in Human Geography and Spatial Analysis, and supervised undergraduate dissertation projects.

Her research focuses on urban politics and socio-spatial inequality. Her dissertation investigated the process of financialization of Berlin’s housing provision—from the political decision to privatize state-owned housing developments to the entrance of institutional actors through real estate private equity funds, and its consequences for the city and its residents. After her PhD, Sabina worked as a research officer at LSE Cities where she did comparative research on urban neighborhoods in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Paris, London, and Berlin.

After moving to New York, Sabina worked at a global urban planning and engineering firm working on post-Sandy resiliency and energy master planning projects.

Samantha Hodges, Trustees Fellow
hodgesSamantha is an anti-poverty advocate with a strong commitment to creating responsive pathways to civic engagement for the racially and ethnically diverse communities most affected by policy. Over the past several years she has led efforts around anti-hunger advocacy and managed programs focused on elevating the leadership of local advocates from low-income communities and communities of color. She has a double degree is environmental studies and sociology from Wesleyan University and is an IHP alumna. An avid dancer, she is most looking forward to exploring traditional and modern dance forms in each city.

senegal bus

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.

Program Dates: Fall 2015

Program Start Date:  Aug 31, 2015

Program End Date:    Dec 20, 2015

The dates listed above are subject to change. 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, 2014

 

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: $17,700

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Content and logistics for field programs in New York City, Buenos Aires, Dakar, 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: $4,500

  • Group airfare during the program

Room & Board:$4,500

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 Buenos Aires, Dakar, 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: $275

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $150

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