Global Urban Humanities Initiative

Sensing San Leandro: Capturing Cityscapes Through Sensors

Part of the Reading Cities, Sensing Cities colloquium

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 1-2PM, 106 Wurster Hall

Professors Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice) and Ron Rael (Architecture) will discuss their course entitled SENSING CITYSCAPES: SENSORS, CITIES, POLICIES/BASIC PROTOCOLS FOR NEW MEDIA in which students create and interrogate tools for collecting data on urban metabolisms. Students are actively partnering with the City of San Leandro to find new ways of collecting and using data to improve city planning.

Click here for more information.

Road-testing Psychogeography on International Boulevard

Scott Elder blogs on Darin Jensen's experiential mapping projects.

Announcing reading cities, sensing cities: an interdisciplinary colloquium

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Wurster Hall 106 (NOTE ROOM CHANGE)

Rhetoric 244a and City Planning 298, 1 credit; open to drop-in visitors

Speaker list and schedule available here.

This weekly colloquium will present speakers investigating cities and urbanism from multiple angles.  We'll look at texts about cities, examine cities as texts, and explore urban areas through music and sound, art, photography, film, performance, mapping, and crowdsourced sensing technologies.  Speakers will include faculty and graduate students from departments including Architecture, Art History, Art Practice, City and Regional Planning, Comparative Literature, Geography, Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, and more. 

Our aim is to provide a regular gathering where people from different disciplines can learn about each other’s work on global cities. Drop-in visitors as well as students registered for the course are welcomed. Feel free to bring lunch.  

From Tokyo to Tbilisi, from Sao Paulo to San Leandro, we'll be hearing the best of current research and practice on seeing, hearing, and feeling cities from UC Berkeley art historians, architects, musicologists, literary scholars, and urban planners--and occasional visitors. 

CALLs FOR PAPERS FOR two experimental global urban humanities publications

Two innovative GloUH projects have issued a call for papers. The deadline for abstracts for pARTicipatory Urbanisms was August 15  and the deadline for papers for Urban Pilgrimage is September 1. Visit the publication webpages (links below) for details and the CFPs.


Participatory Urbanisms will be an experimental web-based publication exploring the multifarious meanings of ‘participation’ and its conditions of possibility in making art and politics in urban spaces.  It will be edited by Karin Shankar, PhD Candidate, Performance Studies and Kirsten Larson, Masters of Architecture, Masters of City Planning.  Faculty advisers for the project are SanSan Kwan, Associate Professor of Dance and Performance Studies and Rudabeh Pakravan, Lecturer in Architecture.


Participatory Urbanism

Urban Pilgrimage will be a special issue of the UC  Berkeley architecture journal Room One Thousand and will explore the historical and contemporary connection between cities and the itineraries of those who pass through them. It will be edited by Padma Maitland, PhD candidate, Architecture and South and Southeast Asian Studies and Lawrence Yang, PhD candidate, East Asian Languages and Cultures.  The project is advised by Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture and Winnie Wong, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric. The project will be made available on a unique website and in print, as well as through eScholarship.
These two projects were selected from a highly competitive slate of publication proposals, and represent important examples of the methodological experimentation embodied in the growing field of urban humanities.  Each publication team includes members from both the College of Environmental Design and the Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science.

For more information on these projects, including ways to get involved by submitting or reviewing papers, participating in associated workshops, or helping with graphic design or production, visit the Publications page of the Global Urban Humanities website and sign up for our email listserv and newsletter.


New Course for Fall 2014:



Participatory Urbanism

Architecture 229, Art Practice 229, New Media 202

Through a suite of practical projects, the course introduces methods for retrieving and working with existing city data, investigating cities through surveys and mapping, generating data through digital sensing and ways of presenting data publicly. Project partners for this course include BART, EBALDC, the City of Berkeley, Youth Radio and

Students will critically consider the limits of optimization and data-driven decision making, the conditions of inclusion and exclusion created with any technology, and the impact of data on intangible human experiences.

The course is one of three new interdisciplinary, team-taught courses offered each year by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative.  A full description of the course and others in the GloUH curriculum is available here.   

The Global Urban Humanities Initiative brings together the humanities and environmental design to investigate cities and the urban human experience. Thanks to a generous 3.5-year grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Initiative is creating innovative cross-disciplinary courses and sponsoring symposia to energize scholarship that challenges traditional boundaries. To keep up to date with us, join our email list.