network city course spring 2009

Today I start teaching at Columbia again.
Below is the Syllabus for the spring 2009 Network City course. Counting a one-year pilot as "The Infrastructural City," Network City has been a key part of my teaching for a decade now. I intend Network City to follow the Infrastructural City just as The Network Culture book (title, anyone?) will follow Networked Publics. 
This year I revised the course a bit. For one, I got rid of readers. I kept LeGates and Stout's City Reader for years, even though I was annoyed that they had made four revisions, each one less serviceable than the original. I suppose this is a move on the part of publishers to extract more money from students who would otherwise be able to sell their used copies. Also, I dislike abridged texts and prefer students to see the text in the original context. So it is. On a related note, I am stressing a set of classic texts by sociologists and writers on urbanism. These should be essential reading for anyone working on the city.
Network City
Kazys Varnelis, Ph.D. []
Avery 115, Tuesdays 11-1
“Cities are communications systems.” – Ronald Abler
This course fulfills the Urban Society M.Arch distributional requirement.
Network City explores how urban areas have developed as ecosystems of competing networks. Networks of capital, transportation infrastructures, and telecommunications systems centralize cities while dispersing them into larger posturban fields such as the Northeastern seaboard or Southern California. Linked together through networks, such cities form the core of global capital, producing the geography of flows that structures economies and societies today.
But networks, infrastructures, and property values are the products of historical development. To this end, the first half of the course surveys the development of urbanization since the emergence of the modern network city in the late nineteenth century while the second half focuses on conditions in contemporary urbanism.
A fundamental thesis of the course is that buildings too, function as networks. We will consider the demands of cities and economies together with technological and social networks on program, envelope, and plan, particularly in the office building, the site of consumption, and the individual dwelling unit. In addition we will look at the fraught relationship between signature architecture (the so-called Bilbao-effect) and the post-Fordist city.
Throughout the course, we will explore the growth of both city and suburbia (and more recently postsuburbia and exurbia) not as separate and opposed phenomena but rather as intrinsically related. Although the material in the course is applicable globally, our focus will be on the development of the American city, in particular, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.
Each class will juxtapose classic readings by sociologists, urban planners, and architects with more contemporary material.

The term project will be a research book, exploring one architectural, infrastructural, or urbanistic component of the Network City.
Material should not be formulated into a traditional research paper, but rather assembled as a dossier of information that tells a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by a narrative you have written yourself. The book will be designed simultaneously as a printed, bound object and for the NetLab web site. Design is integral to the term project.
Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure. Exemplary books are at
A Brief Bibliography of Books regarding Design and Presentation
Kimberley Elam, Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004).
Allen Hurlburt, The Grid: A Modular System for the Design and Production of Newspapers, Magazines, and Books (New York: Van Norstand Reinhold, 1978).
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. The Planetary Emergence of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (New York: Rodale, 2006).
Enric Jardí, Twenty-Tips on Typography (Barcelona: ACTAR, 2007).
Josef Muller-Brockmann, Grid Systems in Graphic Design (Zurich: Niggli, 2001)
Robert Sumrell, Superbrutalism: An Architecture for Muzak,
Timothy Samar, Making and Breaking the Grid. A Graphic Design Layout Workshop (Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2002).
Tomato, Bareback: A Tomato Project (Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press,1999).
* denotes classic reading that demands special attention.
Introduction: Towards Network City
The First Network Cities
* Ronald F. Abler “What Makes Cities Important,” Bell Telephone Magazine, March/April. (1970).
Robert M. Fogelson, “The Business District: Downtown in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, (New Haven: Yale, 2001), 9-42.
Anne Querrien, “The Metropolis and the Capital,” Zone 1/2 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986), 219-221.
The Metropolitan Subject
* Georg Simmel, “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” On Individuality and Social Forms, ed. David Levine, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 324-339.
* Ernest W. Burgess, “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project,” The City: Suggestions for Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment, ed.Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925), 47-62.
* Louis Wirth, “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” In American Journal of Sociology 44, 1-24.
* Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
* Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
Fordism and the Decongested City
* David Harvey, “Fordism” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-140.
* Harvey Molotch, “The City as a Growth Machine,” in John R. Logan and Harvey Luskin Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1987), 50-98.
Robert M. Fogelson, “The Central Business District: Downtown in the 1920s,” Downtown, 183-217.
Peter Galison, “War Against the Center,” Grey Room 4,Summer 2001, 6-33.
Albert Pope, “The Open City,” Ladders (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 14-54.
Office Building as Corporate Machine
* William H. Whyte, “Introduction” and “A Generation of Bureaucrats,” The Organization Man, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956), 3-13 and 63-78.
Abalos and Herreros, “The Evolution of Space Planning in the Workplace.” Tower and Office: From Modernist Theory to Contemporary Practice (Cambridge: Buell Center/Columbia Book of Architecture/The MIT Press, 2005), 177-196. (first half of chapter)
Spiro Kostof, “The American Workplace,” America by Design (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 69-134.
Reinhold Martin, “The Physiognomy of the Office,” The Organizational Complex, (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003), 80-121.
Peter Rowe, “Corporate Estates,” Making a Middle Landscape (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991), pp. 149-181.
The Suburban Field
* David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character, abridged and rev. ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 3-65.
* Herbert J. Gans, “The Vitality of Community Culture,” The Levittowners. Ways of Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community (New York: Random House, 1967), 185-219
Victor Gruen, “Cityscape and Landscape,” Arts and Architecture 72 (September, 1955), 18-19, 36.
Mario Gandelsonas, “Scene 6. The Suburban City,” X-Urbanism: Architecture and the American City (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 30-35.  
Spring Recess
The Emergence of the Network Enterprise
* David Harvey, “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” The Condition of Postmodernity, 141-172.
* Manuel Castells, “The Network Enterprise” in The Rise of the Network Society, 2nd edition,(New York: Blackwell, 2000), 163-296.
* Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,”
“Office Landscape,” Progressive Architecture, (September 1964), 201-203.
“Bürolandschaft, U.S.A.,” Progressive Architecture, (May 1968), 174-177.
Abalos and Herreros, 197-211. (second half of chapter)
Malcolm Gladwell, “Designs for Working,” The New Yorker, December 11, 2000, 60-70. 
The Return of the Center
* Jane Jacobs, “Introduction,” The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), 2-25.
* Rem Koolhaas, “’Life in the Metropolis’ or ‘The Culture of Congestion,’” Architectural Design 47 (August 1977), 319-325.
* Sharon Zukin, “Living Lofts as Terrain and Market” and “The Creation of a ‘Loft Lifestyle” in Loft Living (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1982), 1-22, 58-81.
Richard Florida, “The Transformation of Everyday Life” and “The Creative Class,’ in The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books, 2002), 1–17, 67–82.
Dan Graham, “Gordon Matta-Clark” in Gordon Matta-Clark (Marseilles: Musées de Marseilles, 1993), 378-380.
David Harvey, “The Constructing of Consent,” A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005), 39-63.
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,”
Bert Mulder, “The Creative City or Redesigning Society,” and Justin O’Connor, “Popular Culture, Reflexivity and Urban Change in Jan Verwijnen and Panu Lehtovuori, eds, Creative Cities. Cultural Industries, Urban Development and the Information Society, (Helsinki: UIAH Publications, 1999), 60-75, 76-100.
The Global City and the New Centrality
* Saskia Sassen, “On Concentration and Centrality in the Global City,” Paul L. Knox and Peter J. Taylor, eds., World Cities in a World-System (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 63-78.
* Ignasi Sola-Morales, “Terrain Vague”, in Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), p. 118-123.
* Castells “The Space of Flows,” The Rise of the Network Society, 407-459.
Sze Tsung Leong, “Readings of the Attenuated Landscape,” Michael Bell and Sze Tsung Leong, eds., Slow Space (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1998), 186-213.
Martin Pawley, “From Postmodernism to Terrorism,” Terminal Architecture, 132-154.
Kazys Varnelis, “The Centripetal City: Telecommunications, the Internet, and the Shaping of the Modern Urban Environment,” Cabinet Magazine 17.
The Clustered Field: Postsuburbia to Edgeless Cities and Beyond
* Robert D. Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy 6 (1995): 65-78.
* Melvin M. Weber, “Order in Diversity: Community Without Propinquity,” Cities and Space: The Future of Urban Land, ed. Lowden Wingo, Jr. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1963), 23.
Robert Fishman, “Beyond Suburbia: The Rise of the Technoburb,” Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 182-208.
Rob Kling, Spencer Olin, and Mark Poster, “Beyond the Edge: The Dynamism of Postsuburban Regions,” and “The Emergence of Postsuburbia: An Introduction,” Rob Kling, Spencer Olin, and Mark Poster, eds. Postsuburban California: The Transformation of Orange County (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), vii-xx, 1-30.
Selections from Michael J. Weiss, The Clustered World: How We Live, What We Buy, and What it All Means About Who We Are (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999).
Bill Bishop, “The Power of Place,” The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 19-80.
Robert E. Lang and Jennifer LeFurgy, “Edgeless Cities: Examining the Noncentered Metropolis,” Housing Policy Debate 14 (2003): 427-460.
New Places, New Selves
* Marc Augé, “Prologue” and “From Places to Non-Places,” in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6. 75-115.
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, “Place: The Networking of Public Space,” Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
Hans Ibelings, “Supermodernism,” Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.
Brian Holmes, “The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique,” Transversal,



It's nice to see how the course evolves, and what new things make it in to the discourse. I'm curious to read the Abalos & Herreros, and I've pulled my Zone 1/2 off the shelf to go look at the Anne Querrien piece again.

The single most consequential change, I think, compared to 2005 (other than that you seem to have lost a week--too bad) is moving Postscript to the Societies of Control up to the beginning of the semester. I also like the the idea of the Metropolitan Subject lecture, and its more psychological slant.