Yale to Offer Public Course on New Haven and Urban Change

As part of its Tercentennial celebration, Yale University will welcome the public and students from local colleges and universities this fall to a lecture series about New Haven.

As part of its Tercentennial celebration, Yale University will welcome the public and students from local colleges and universities this fall to a lecture series about New Haven.

Team-taught by Yale faculty from several disciplines, the course is titled “New Haven and the Problem of Change in the American City.”

Although the course has been given twice before, in 1996 and 1998, this is the first time that students enrolled at Gateway Community College and the University of New Haven will participate, along with students from Quinnipiac College and Albertus Magnus. Students at these schools take the course for academic credit at their home institutions, attending classes at Yale and discussion sections at their own schools.

Throughout the year-long celebration of Yale’s 300th birthday, the University will welcome the community to campus for a range of events. An Open House will be held on October 21. Details about this and other Tercentennial events can be found at the Web site: www.yale.edu/about/tercentennial.html

This course on “New Haven and the Problem of Change in the American City” contributes to a major theme to be explored during the Tercentennial: American democracy. Through an assessment of the past and prospects of urban areas, the course poses questions about how mobility has affected democracy’s ability to deliver on its promise of both liberty and equality.

The first lecture will consider various perspectives on contemporary New Haven, asking, “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” The lecture will be given by the full faculty: Cynthia Farrar, Stephen Lassonde, Alan Plattus, and Douglas Rae. Farrar is Adjunct Associate professor of Political Science and Assistant Vice President for Urban Policy Development in Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs. Lassonde is a Lecturer in the History Department who studies public education in New Haven. Plattus is Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture and director of its Urban Design Workshop. Rae is the Richard S. Ely Professor of Management at the Yale School of Management. He served as Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Haven in the administration of Mayor John Daniels. His book on New Haven, The End of Urbanism, will appear in 2001. Farrar, Plattus and Rae have worked with the Dwight neighborhood as part of a University partnership, and with other community projects in New Haven.

“In addition to marking the University’s Tercentennial, this course is an important aspect of Yale’s New Haven Initiative,” said Farrar. “The course draws on what we have learned from that initiative about economic and human development and neighborhood revitalization. And we will offer historical and comparative perspectives that will, we hope, help to inform the way in which Yale and other local institutions of higher education pursue their partnerships with New Haven.”

The course will look at the rapid transformation of New Haven and other American cities in the 20th century. Historical analysis will be used as a springboard for discussion of issues important to the city’s future, including community and neighborhood development, regional collaboration, employment, housing, education and public safety.

Lectures will be held on Tuesdays and some Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., beginning September 7 (see the complete list of lecture times, below). These sessions, free and open to the public, will take place in Davies Auditorium, Becton Center, 15 Prospect St.


Sept. 7: “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” Farrar, Lassonde, Plattus, Rae

Sept. 12: “The Rise of Centered Urbanism,” Rae

Sept. 19: “Building the Centered City,” Plattus

Sept. 21: “The Fabric of Enterprise” Rae

Sept. 26, “Civic Density,” Farrar

Oct. 3: “The Political Environment of the Centered City,” Rae

Oct. 10: “Growing Up and Getting an Education in the Centered City,” Lassonde

Oct. 17: “Destruction I: The Urban Centrifuge,” Plattus

Oct. 19: “Destruction II: Civic Unraveling,” Farrar

Oct. 24: “Planning For and Against the De-centered City: Modern Urbanism,” Plattus

Oct. 31: “Fictions of Recentering: Post-modern and Global Urbanism,” Plattus

Nov. 2: “Understanding the City These Days,” Farrar, Lassonde, Plattus, Rae

Nov. 7: “School Reform?” Lassonde

Nov. 14: “Re-inventing Civic Density,” Farrar

Nov. 16: “Anchored Capital: Yale and the Hospitals?” Farrar

Nov. 28: “Urban Politics in a Post-urban Setting,” Rae

Dec. 5: “Suburban and New Urban Prospectus for New Haven,” Rae and Plattus

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325