Cities in Conflict: Theory and Practice

Photo of skyscrapers against a blue sky.

A city skyline. (Photograph courtesy of Sandra Mallalieu. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2003



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course's aims are two-fold:

  1. to offer students the theoretical and practical tools to understand how and why cities become torn by ethnic, religious, racial, nationalist, and/or other forms of identity that end up leading to conflict, violence, inequality, and social injustice; and
  2. to use this knowledge and insight in the search for solutions

As preparation, students will be required to become familiar with social and political theories of the city and the nation and their relationship to each other. They also will focus on the ways that racial, ethnic, religious, nationalist or other identities grow and manifest themselves in cities or other territorial levels of determination (including the regional or transnational). In the search for remedies, students will be encouraged to consider a variety of policymaking or design points of entry, ranging from the political- institutional (e.g. forms of democratic participation and citizenship) to spatial, infrastructural, and technological interventions.

Related Content

Diane Davis, and Roger Petersen. 11.949 Cities in Conflict: Theory and Practice. Fall 2003. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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