IHP Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Spring)


Previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in urban studies, anthropology, political science, or other related fields is strongly recommended but not required.

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 (PDF)
(DVST 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Understanding the political process and its role in urban development is central to comprehending how cities work and grow. Who exercises power in cities and what are their sources of power? What is the structure of cities and how does this enhance or impede their growth? What is the role of state and local government in formulating development policies in a changing world economy? What challenges are faced by public policymakers and other stakeholders? This course examines a variety of structural elements and processes including government structures, relationships between city and regional institutions, privatization, community development, economic growth, industrial restructuring, technological change, workforce development, the informal economy, and poverty and income distribution.

Culture and Society of World Cities - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
How do people identify and construct boundaries for various social groupings (race, class, ethnicity, gender, and locality)? What strategies do people use to adapt to living in cities? How do neighborhoods become distinctive? What are the celebrations and festivals? Who participates in each? What are the sources of information on these social categories and symbolic activities? This course examines how these elements combine to form the rich layers of multicultural urban society, how communities are structured and destroyed, and how values relate to urban life. 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 (PDF)
(URST 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
What are the intentional and natural forces that guide the development of the world’s cities? How has urban planning attempted to guide these forces toward a prosperous and equitable reality? This course studies the lifelines that sustain dense human habitation. 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. Do contemporary environmentally conscious approaches toward sustainability have any chance of success? In response to rapid automobilization and de-densification of cities around the globe, are planners having any success at choreographing the development of city systems and services in equitable and sustainable ways?

Contemporary Urban Issues: Problems and Solutions - syllabus (PDF)
(URST 3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Are today’s headlines a fleeting concern or a clue to understanding broad forces at work—forces that define the lives of the people in the cities and countries we visit? Throughout the Cities program, a broad spectrum of contemporary topics is presented. In each city, topics of special significance to that city are examined in depth through lectures, field visits, and case studies. In this course, students also 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.

Request Information
Apply Now
Continue My Application

Credits: 16

Duration: Spring, 16 weeks

Program Sites:
USA, Brazil, India, South Africa

Prerequisites: Previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in urban studies, anthropology, political science, or other related fields is strongly recommended but not required. Learn More...

Student Evaluations

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Spring 2013 Evaluations


Connect With Us

Connect icons

888.272.7881 (toll-free in US)



Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Contact us by email.