Global Urban Humanities Initiative

New Course for Spring 2015

Public Space: Placemaking and Performance

Landscape Architecture 254 / Theater, Dance and Performance Studies 266

Thursdays 5:30-8:30PM
Wurster Hall 315D

Instructors: Ghigo DiTommaso (LAEP) and Erika Chong Shuch (TDPS)

In this course, we will both investigate and intervene in the urban public realm. We will explore the contested normative frameworks that make up our notion of public space by examining the corpus of descriptive and prescriptive theories on the subject. We will test some of the central hypotheses that support such theories through student-led urban actions, involving impromptu performances and tactical placemaking.

In the first part of the class (Theory of Practice), we will conduct a critical review of an extensive selection of theoretical writings and work collaboratively on formulating a shared definition of the urban res publica. In the second part of the class (Practice of Theory), we will try to measure the distance between our aspirations for public space and the reality of our urban surroundings by conceiving and staging a series of extemporaneous interventions across various Bay Area sites.

The course is one of four new interdisciplinary, team-taught courses offered each year by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative. To learn more about this course, click here.

Sensing Cityscapes in the News!

Check out Rebecca Parr's article in the Contra Costa Times about the Sensing Cityscapes students' final projects--three interactive light installations in the City of San Leandro.

Count Me In: Walking and the City


Thursday, December 11, 2-5pm
Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium
UC Berkeley

How can a city improve nighttime safety, create public art, and collect pedestrian data all at once? Come see how in beautiful interactive lighting art projects/sensors by UC Berkeley students installed in underpasses, on overpasses near schools, and along walking routes to BART.

The students were participants in the interdisciplinary course Sensing Cityscapes: Sensors, Cities, Policies/Basic Protocols for New Media, sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative (GloUH) and taught by Assoc. Prof. Greg Niemeyer, Department of Art Practice and Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media, and Assoc. Prof. Ron Rael, Department of Architecture.

Throughout the semester, the students have been exploring issues of smart cities, big data, surveillance, and connections between art, quantitative research, and normative city planning processes. Working closely with the City of San Leandro, these graduate students in art practice, city planning, architecture, geography, and other fields have installed three temporary projects: Urban Heartbeat, Walk with Me, and Underglow.

For schedule details and free registration, click here.

Video and posters of the individual projects are on the City of San Leandro blog.

Presented by students, faculty and staff from the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, CITRIS (Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society), BCNM (Berkeley Center for New Media), and the CITRIS Social Apps Lab

Partners include: Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco Office of Innovation, City of San Leandro

Public Art/Housing Publics

Conversations on Art and Social Justice

with Rick Lowe (ARC 2014 Artist-in-Residence), Raquel Gutierrez (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts), Professor Walter J. Hood (UC Berkeley), Aubra Levine (Satellite Affordable Housing Associates), Elena Serrano (EastSide Arts Alliance), Jordan Simmons (East Bay Center for the Performing Arts)

Friday, November 21, 1-6pm
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

The Public Art/Housing Publics: Conversations on Art and Social Justice symposium will explore innovative collaborations across cultural and social justice sectors. How can we sustain affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods in our communities? How can we sustain a thriving artistic life for our citizens? Most importantly, how can we answer both of these questions together? Timed to coincide with the residency of UC-Berkeley Regents Lecturer, Rick Lowe of Project Row Houses, participants will include artists, scholars, civic organizers, and affordable housing developers from around the Bay Area.

For more information, click here.

Co-sponsored by the Arts Research Center, Global Urban Humanities Initiative, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and UC-Berkeley Regents Lecture series.

In the Site of the Strange

A Pearl River Delta Roundtable

with Marco Cenzatti (Urban Planning), Tim Choy (Anthropology), Margaret Crawford (Architecture) Aihwa Ong (Anthropology), Lanchih Po (International Studies), Winnie Wong (Rhetoric)

Thursday, October 23, 5-7pm
(no entry after 6pm)
Center for Chinese Studies
1995 University Avenue, 5th Floor

The Pearl River Delta region, encompassing the British post-colony Hong Kong, the Portuguese post-colony Macau, the historic port city of Guangzhou, and the post-Mao model city Shenzhen, is a site of exceptions to both national, transnational, and global discourses of space and culture. Join six scholars of the region as they introduce the strangest and most confounding sites they have encountered in their research.

Co-sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative (GloUH) in association with the Art+Village+City Spring 2015 graduate research studio. For more info, visit: and

Image source: Richard Yuan/Flickr

New Course for Spring 2015

ART + VILLAGE + CITY in the Pearl River Delta

Architecture 209 / Rhetoric 250
T-TH 12:30-3PM

Instructors: Margaret Crawford (Architecture) and Winnie Wong (Rhetoric)

This research studio will critically investigate a wide range of urban art villages in the Pearl River Delta, exploring their historical development, current state, and future potential. Throughout the region, villagers, artists, officials, migrants, developers, and entrepreneurs have leveraged art practices in order to reimagine urban life and urban citizenship. This studio documents and investigates their efforts, and will propose its own interventions.

This studio entails a 14-day intensive fieldwork trip in the Pearl River Delta during the Spring Semester break. Throughout the studio, students will explore multidisciplinary methods in urban research, documentary and ethnographic fieldwork, and developing tools for visualization, analysis, and presentation. The research studio will culminate in a public project exhibition and symposium to be held at UC Berkeley.

The course is one of four new interdisciplinary, team-taught courses offered each year by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative. To learn more about this research studio and how to apply, click 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.