PJ Dick Innovation Fund Teaching Grant: Urbanism and Social Production of Space

Course 2024
Jongwan Kwon, Assistant Teaching Professor
color drawing of Arctic Town by Ralph Erskine (1958)

Urbanism and Social Production of Space
Jongwan Kwon, Assistant Teaching Professor, Carnegie Mellon Architecture

Teaching Assistant TBD | Beginning Fall 2024 (recurring annually) | 50-75 students 

This course introduces contemporary urbanism, offering a comprehensive exploration of how cities and urban systems are made, remade and even unmade. It approaches contemporary urbanism through urban theory, research and practice to investigate the relationship between a set of intentions and consequences. It reflects the multidimensional nature of the externalities that determine the complex processes of urbanization and draws discussions on the fields of architecture, planning, landscape architecture and social science.

With a general focus on physical, social, environmental, technological, political and economic forces that influence city-making and urban life, the course tackles and leads discussions centered around the key issues that are shaping the crises of climate change, artificial intelligence and social justice within urban and global contexts. The course introduces urban theory readings and design and research projects regarding these challenges and features guest lectures and workshops covering topics like climate resilience and sustainable communities, open data mapping and surveillance, and gender and subculture.

As a mandatory course for B.Arch and B.A. students, it will serve as the primary urban studies course in the undergraduate curriculum. Its purpose is to enhance students’ deeper awareness and comprehension of contemporary social, technological and environmental challenges. Additionally, the course aims to cultivate theoretical and critical design thinking that students can apply to their studio projects and thesis development.

Image Credit: Arctic Town by Ralph Erskine (1958)

About the Instructor

Assistant Teaching Professor

  • Carnegie Mellon Architecture is committed to the mission-defining challenges of climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The PJ Dick Teaching Grants Program recognizes that the future of architecture and its related industries start with the education of the profession’s next generation of practitioners through innovative pedagogies. The teaching grants are focused on supporting changes to existing courses and development of new courses that focus on the three challenges.

  • The Faculty Grants Program will award a total of $400,000 over four years and is open to all full time faculty at the school. The 2024 proposals were evaluated by a committee comprised of school head Omar Khan; associate heads Joshua Bard, Mary-Lou Arscott and Kai Gutschow; Erica Cochran Hameen, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Theodossis Issaias, Special Faculty; Jenn Joy Wilson, Assistant Dean for Research Development and Sponsored Projects; and Aaron Martin, Associate Director, Institutional Partnerships, College of Fine Arts.

    The Faculty Grants Program, established in 2023 by PJ Dick Trumbull Lindy Group, supports faculty research and teaching innovations that address the school’s three pedagogical challenges: climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The proposals were assessed on their impact in furthering a faculty member’s research and teaching, their contribution to interrogating the school’s challenges, and their viability to garner further research support, make an impact on the discipline and expand the pedagogy of the school.