The Hebrew University Logo
Syllabus Spatial Justice and Cities - 40858
close window close
PDF version
Last update 11-03-2018
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: geography

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Emily Silverman

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Tuesday, 16:30 - 17:30

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Emily Silverman

Course/Module description:
This reading course examines the impact of urbanization on spatial justice, with a special emphasis on cities in the Global South. The course draws an interesting mix of students: those from "GLOCAL - International Community Development Studies" who are interested in cities, and those from Urban Planning who are interesting the Global South, making for rich classroom discussion. Learning is based on weekly reading and writing assignments in English and in-depth classroom discussion of these writing assignments as well as classroom lectures. Students are invited to participate in "Friday Walks' organized by the Urban Clinic. Topics include: the importance of spatial planning for national social goals such as reducing poverty and social inclusion; the impact of housing, public spaces and transport policies on social goals; public spaces and diversity; spatial planning with regard to women, children, and the elderly; and citizen influence on spatial planning.

Course/Module aims:
To develop awareness of the impact of spatial planning on poverty and excluded populations. To demonstrate the potential of housing, transport, public space and urban regeneration policies for enhancing social equity.
To explore and critique 'good practices' of spatial justice and, for the Israeli students, to evaluate potential adaptation in Israel.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Use their eyes to understand how spatial policies are promoting or retarding social equity.

-explain the importance of the city for social mobility, with reference to housing, transport, and public space, using examples from a variety of countries.
-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of programs for informal settlements and slum upgrading, and policies to integrate urban migrants.
-explain the importance of design for local sustainability and community cohesion.

Attendance requirements(%):
Full attendance, and active participation in discussions, including responding in writing and verbally to questions about the reading.

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Classroom lectures are illustrated with examples from developed and developing countries, including students' own experiences. Students are asked to prepare 4 short written responses to weekly readings. Class discussion centers on the reading assignments, including students' own experiences with the topics. We will try to include one class field trip, and at least two guest lecturers with experience in international development planning.

Course/Module Content:
1. The New Urban Agenda
2. Cities and Spatial Justice
3. Urban Planning and the Global South: Do Planners hate the poor?
4. Arrival Cities and migrants
5. Informal settlements and slum upgrading
6. Transport and social equity
7. Placemaking and community building
8. Gender, cities and spatial planning
9. Community based organizations and urban planning
10. Urban Design for Social Sustainability in developing countries
11. Spatial Justice and Social Justice

Required Reading:
World Cities Report 2016: UN Habitat.
Radical Cities, J. McGuirk
Arrival City, D. Saunders (2011).
Favella, J. Perlman, (2010).
Happy City, C. Montgomery (2013)
Cities for People , J. Gehl, (2010).
"Designing Cities for Women and Children", E. Kail
"Urban Transportation and Social Equity", J. Levine, in Carmon and Feinstein eds, (2013).
"Spatial Justice: Derivative but Causal of Social Injustice", P. Marcuse (2010).

Additional Reading Material:
Jaime Lerner, Song of the City (TED talk)
Curitiba, Story of City,
Holding Ground: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (film)

Redevelopment Plan leads to Controversy in Dharavi, Mumbai (film)

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 20 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 80 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
GLOCAL students from an international background are highly encouraged to register for this course!
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.