In this two-week module of the course we will:

  • build a baseline understanding of the neoliberal economy; how it is supported by policies, practices, and ideas; and how that has shaped what it means to be a city.
  • gain an understanding of the two primary U.S. competing economic policy frameworks [supply-side and demand-side]; their attendant values, consequences, and limitations.
  • explore the fact that these are not the only debates; that other debates are being played out in the world; and that There Are Many Alternatives.
  • learn about capitalism in crisis and the growing crisis of inequality
  • learn how to blog on the course website
  • establish a calendar of our synchronous sessions for the semester

Assignments & Deadlines

Brenner, Neal and Theodore, Nik “Cities and the Geographies of ‘Actually Existing Neoliberalism,’” Antipode, 2002.

“Blank is Beautiful: Three Decades of Erasing and Making the World,” and “Shock Wears Off: The Rise of People’s Reconstruction,” from The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein. Picador. 2007.

Swimming Against the Tide: A Brief History of Federal Policy in Poor Communities,” by Alice O’Connor, from The Community Development Reader, Routledge. 2008.

“Back to Basics: Development Worthy of the Name,” by Jonathan Sher; “What is Economic Development?” by Steve Fisher; and the “Goal is Democracy, Not Growth,” by Howard Stanback, from Everybody’s Business: A People’s Guide to Economic Development. Southern Exposure. 1986.

Claiming the Right to the City: A Question of Power,” by Gihan Perera. Race, Poverty, and the Environment. Urban Habitat. Spring 2008.

Mapping (in)justice,” by Gilda Haas. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action. 2011.

3 short videos about supply side vs demand side economics and how the financial crisis happened:

David Harvey on the Contradictions of Capitalism

Thomas Piketty on Capital in the 21st Century

Ed Whitfield’s opening speech, “The Other Side of the Door,” at the 2014 Common Bound conference

BLOG POST DUE 5:00 PM, Friday, May 15
COMMENTS DUE: 5:00 PM, Sunday, May 17

Using the readings, residency, and your own experience as resources, write a blog post of approximately 750 words (login, click post, write, save) in which you locate yourself as an actor in the business of sustainable urban economies. Here are some questions that may serve as guidance:

Is there a sector or issue that is most important to you?  Say why.

Is there a particular strategy that resonates the most with you? (negotiations, creating alternative institutions, building grassroots power…)  Say why.

Is there a type of intervention (business, policy, campaign…) that resonates the most with you?  Say why.

Read and Comment on at least two of your peers’ posts by Sunday, May 17, do not feel limited by that requirement, and continue to blog and comment as you are moved to do so.

Week 3: SUNDAY, MAY 17, 10:00 AM pst [7 pm cest]

Adobe Connect Discussion Session

This discussion will consist of:

conversation about the first course module, building from student blog posts, readings, videos, and our own experience

framing introduction to the module on cooperative economic development and current anti-austerity and democratic urban political movements in Spain.

Adobe Connect instructions:

Please link to the Adobe Connect session 5 minutes before start time. For this session we will be using VOIP (because instructor is calling from Spain]. Quick access to the Adobe Connect online classroom is always available by clicking on ADOBE CONNECT on the top menu of the Course Website. 

Please note that the url for all Adobe Connect sessions for this class is always:


log in as a guest and simply enter your name in the space provided