URBAN STUDIES AND SPATIAL PRACTICES PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The program in Urban Studies and Spatial Practices combines the theoretical approach to the study of territorial and social transformation with forms of urban interventions and spatial analysis, connecting the theoretical analysis of space to practices of the everyday life. Students employ spatial concepts and urban analysis to examine different systems of social organization and their impact on social relations, culture, and the environment. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on methods and knowledge from fields--such as anthropology, geography, economics, environmental studies, literature, human rights, law, and the visual arts -- to the study of urban space. This innovative approach to the more conventional discipline of urban planning allows students to explore the ways in which cities are the products of complex interactions of social, political and economic forces. A fundamental component of the program is hands-on excursions into the field; by engaging students in field studies of readily accessible communities, they will combine practical knowledge of local walks used as a self-learning process and as an active form of intervention into the social space. The peculiar spatial condition of the conflict over Palestine is the privileged site of observation and research.
Fieldworks and internships programs are designed to combine substantial academic engagement with the theoretical principles of urban planning and social justice, as well as practical, hands-on experience of working in UN agencies, governmental and non governmental institutions, alongside professional planners and community leaders.
URBAN STUDIES AND SPATIAL PRACTICES PROGRAM MISSION
The mission of the program is the same as the mission of Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences: to provide a liberal arts education that promotes critical thinking, effective writing, and a spirit of independent inquiry, through a process of active student-centered learning. The program also has the mission of teaching theoretical and applied economics and finance at the undergraduate level, in English, in a way that produces graduates who are good writers, researchers, and thinkers.
The principal objectives of Al-Quds Bard College are to promote critical thinking and writing, and to impart a spirit of independent inquiry, through active and student-centered learning, often in small, seminar-type courses. As part of achieving this, AQB asks students to gain some comprehension of intellectual history, and - most important - an understanding that they are not learning a body of knowledge so much as a practice of reading carefully and thinking deeply about important questions, drawing on centuries and even millennia of works by great minds.
The program aims to provide students with a complete intellectual and professional profile, and to prepare them with the cognitive, intellectual and practical skills they need to pursue a range of careers. In particular, graduates of the Urban Studies program will have superior skills for the coordination of complex projects; graduates will also possess a strong sense of responsibility with regard to the just and sustainable development of their own nation and community. The program aims to build solid bases in knowledge and methods in order to produce a new generation of professionals in the field of urban planning who are not simply engineers who can execute the ideas of others, but who are intellectuals who combine practical skills with creative solutions and visionary ideas.
The liberal arts approach to the study of Urban Studies and Spatial Practices, which emphasizes writing and critical thinking skills across a range of disciplines, ensures that students will develop superior cognitive skills not only in the field of Urban Studies, but rooted in a broader understanding of intellectual currents. While the program focus is in the social sciences, the discipline requires a range of theoretical and practical skills from cognate disciplines. Graduates will develop and demonstrate the capability to interpret complex relationships and problems in creative ways. The ability to analyze complex phenomena and to develop new solutions is fostered through the experiences students have in their fieldwork and in the analytical work they undertake in their reports and research papers.