Urban Studies

The Barnard–Columbia Urban Studies program enables students to explore and understand the urban experience in all of its richness and complexity. It recognizes the city as an amalgam of diverse peoples and their social, political, economic, and cultural interactions within a distinctive built environment. Students study the evolution and variety of urban forms and governance structures, which create opportunities for, as well as constrain, the exercise of human agency, individual and collective. They explore the place of the city in different historical and comparative contexts, as well as in the human imagination.

Majors build an intellectual foundation that combines interdisciplinary coursework and a concentration of study within a single field. Through the two-semester junior colloquium, students study urban history and contemporary issues, and at the same time hone their interdisciplinary, analytical and research skills. This shared experience prepares them for their independent research project in their senior year. We encourage our majors to use New York City as a laboratory, and many courses draw on the vast resources of the city and include an off-campus experience.

The Barnard–Columbia Urban Studies program offers courses in urban sociology, science and technology in urban environments, urban case studies in spacial analysis, community building and economic development, urban development, civic engagement, and social entrepreneurship.

For questions about specific courses, contact the department:

Program Office: 236 Milbank
212-854-4073
Office Hours: By appointment

Web: urban.barnard.edu


Directory of Classes

The course information displayed on this page relies on an external system and may be incomplete. Please visit Urban Studies @ Barnard on the Directory of Classes for complete course information for:
Fall 2016
Spring 2017

After finding your course in the Directory of Classes, click on the section number to open an expanded view. The "Open To" field will indicate whether the course is open to School of Professional Studies students. If School of Professional Studies is not included in the field, students may still be able to cross-register for the course by obtaining permission after being admitted to an academic program.


URBS UN2200 Introduction to GIS. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning (QUA).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. This course does not fulfill the C requirement for Urban Studies majors.

Due to the high demand for our limited-enrollment spatial analysis course (URBS V3200) the Urban Studies program is offering an introductory course to the fundamentals of GIS (Geographic Informational Systems), specifically for non-majors.Students create maps using ArcGIS software, analyze the physical and social processes presented in the digital model, and use the data to solve specific spatial analysis problems. Note: this course does not fulfill the C requirement in Urban Studies.

Fall 2016: URBS UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 2200 001/09245 M W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Kazuki Sakamoto 3 22/24
Spring 2017: URBS UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 2200 001/03078 T 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Benjamin Huff 3 22
URBS 2200 001/03078 Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Benjamin Huff 3 22

URBS UN3200 Spatial Analysis: GIS Methods and Urban Case Studies. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning (QUA).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors. Only 24 admitted.

Introduction to spatial analysis using state of-the-art GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping and analysis software to apply quantitative analytical methods to real-world urban issues. Will include basic coverage of applied statistics. Case studies will focus on subjects like environmental justice, voting patterns, transportation systems, segregation, public health, redevelopment trends, and socio-economic geography.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3200 001/04700 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Maria Doneliza Joaquin 4 20/24
URBS 3200 001/04700 T 12:00pm - 1:50pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Maria Doneliza Joaquin 4 20/24
Spring 2017: URBS UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3200 001/04254 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Dara Mendeloff 4 20
URBS 3200 001/04254 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Dara Mendeloff 4 20

URBS UN3420 Introduction to Urban Sociology. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC II).

Prerequisites: Students must attend first class.

Examines the diverse ways in which sociology has defined and studied cities, focusing on the people who live and work in the city, and the transformations U.S. cities are undergoing today. Sociological methods, including ethnography, survey research, quantitative studies, and participant observation will provide perspectives on key urban questions such as street life, race, immigration, globalization, conflict, and redevelopment.

Spring 2017: URBS UN3420
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3420 001/08891 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
323 Milbank Hall
Aaron Passell 3 38/50

URBS UN3464 Urban Ecologies and Grand Infrastructure: Metropolitan Planning Issues. 3 points.

This lecture course is designed around different issues of metropolitan regions around the worlds that govern and plan urbanized, risky and vulnerable ecological systems and consequently large-scale urban interventions that change the landscapes of the regions. The reality of an age of drastic climate change and increasing number of natural disasters in urbanized regions raises issues of resilience and ecological governance. Metropolitan regions and the planning politics that lie beneath the regional plans and strategic initiatives are critical in the mitigation of some of these risks and in the understanding of regional politics. Historical and contemporary case studies will prepare the students to conduct their own critical analysis and reading of a case where several themes discussed in class will be further explored.

Spring 2017: URBS UN3464
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3464 001/08799 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
325 Milbank Hall
Sevin Yildiz 3 24/35

URBS UN3530 Urban Development: A Rubik's Cube of Policy Choices. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors. Only 16 admitted.

Using case studies, examines the rationale for urban development, the players involved and how decisions are made about the distribution of public and private resources. Studies the specific components of the development process and the myriad policy questions that large-scale development is meant to address. Examines the disconnect among stakeholders' objectives - the developer, the financial institution that pays for the project, the government and the community.

Spring 2017: URBS UN3530
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3530 001/02776 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
405 Barnard Hall
Susan Fine 4 14

URBS UN3545 Junior Colloquium: The Shaping of the Modern City. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section. General Education Requirement: Historical Studies.

Introduction to the historical process and social consequences of urban growth, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3545
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3545 001/01098 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
502 Diana Center
Meredith Linn 4 8/16
URBS 3545 002/09802 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
227 Milbank Hall
Aaron Passell 4 13/16
URBS 3545 003/03273 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
501 Milbank Hall
Gergely Baics 4 15/16
URBS 3545 004/01372 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Kimberley Johnson 4 8/16

URBS UN3546 Junior Colloquium: Contemporary Urban Issues. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section.

Evaluation of current political, economic, social, cultural and physical forces that are shaping urban areas.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3546
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3546 001/09945 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
309 Hamilton Hall
Kathryn Yatrakis 4 9/16
Spring 2017: URBS UN3546
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3546 001/09660 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
227 Milbank Hall
Kimberley Johnson 4 13
URBS 3546 002/05052 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Sevin Yildiz 4 16

URBS UN3550 Community Building and Economic Development. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors.

Community building has emerged as an important approach to creating an economic base, reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in urban neighborhoods. In this course, students examine the methods, strategies, and impact of community building on the economic, social, and political development of urban neighborhoods.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3550
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3550 001/00185 W 11:00am - 12:50pm
501 Diana Center
Liz Abzug 4 19
Spring 2017: URBS UN3550
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3550 001/04866 W 11:00am - 12:50pm
214 Milbank Hall
Liz Abzug 4 18/20

URBS UN3565 Cities in Developing Countries: Problems and Prospects. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors.

Examination of cities in developing countries, with a focus on environment, employment, and housing. Four cases will be studied: Sao Paulo, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bombay, India; and Shanghai, China. We will consider urbanization patterns and the attendant issues, the impact of global economic trends, and governmental and non-governmental responses.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3565
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3565 001/02941 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
323 Milbank Hall
Sevin Yildiz 3 59/70

URBS UN3833 New York City: Politics and Governing. 4 points.

This course will examine through readings, class discussions, and in class debate, the complex politics and governing of New York City- the key political institutions, and who holds urban political power, voting and elections, and the changing roles of the electorate will be covered.  We will examine the structure or New York City government and how the New York City Budget is developed and adopted; the interplay between Mayoral and City council powers, the city charter, the process of governing and the role of political parties, special interest groups, lobbyists and labor unions. We will look back in the City’s political history and consider that time in the mid 1970’s when New York City suffered a major fiscal crisis and was close to financial bankruptcy.  In this context, New York City’s relationships with the state and federal governments will also be covered.          

Fall 2016: URBS UN3833
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3833 001/04567 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
308 Diana Center
Liz Abzug 4 16
Spring 2017: URBS UN3833
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3833 001/05158 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
501 Diana Center
Liz Abzug 4 19/20

URBS UN3920 Social Entrepreneurship. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors. General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC). Only 16 admitted.

Introduction to the main concepts and processes associated with the creation of new social enterprises, policies, programs, and organizations; criteria for assessing business ventures sponsored by non-profits and socially responsible initiatives undertaken by corporations; specific case studies using New York City as a laboratory. To be offered Fall 2011.

Fall 2016: URBS UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3920 001/04844 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
323 Milbank Hall
Thomas Kamber 4 17

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.