Why Study Urban Studies at New College?

Various academic disciplines may define the city in differing ways, but they all agree on one thing: the city is a revolutionary human achievement. As a student in our Urban Studies program, you will use tools provided by multiple disciplines to understand cities and the role they play in the development and functioning of civilization.

Urban Studies area of concentration

Various academic disciplines may define the city in differing ways, but they all agree on one thing: the city is a revolutionary human achievement. As a student in our Urban Studies program, you will use tools provided by multiple disciplines to understand cities and the role they play in the development and functioning of civilization. In fact, Urban Studies at New College is what we call a joint disciplinary or slash AOC, because it must be combined with another discipline (e.g., Urban Studies/Sociology, Urban Studies/Economics) in order to graduate. You can also take Urban Studies as a track within our Environmental Studies AOC.

True to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, faculty offer a variety of perspectives on urbanism, including the study of prehistoric and preindustrial cities, the history of urban architecture, urban sociology, contemporary urban cultures and ethnic groups in the United States, and urban politics. You can also take advantage of internships in Sarasota and Bradenton — one of the nation’s fastest-growing urban areas — as well as opportunities for off-campus study in the United States and abroad. All are designed to lead toward your senior thesis or project, which you and your faculty advisor will devise.

Urban Studies involves exploring the ways we organize our lives together in places, both urban and rural, as well as how we produce, understand, represent and engage such places and landscapes in our daily lives. In the broadest sense, it is the study of the patterns, qualities and consequences of human settlements, as built environments and as social, cultural, economic and political structures — all with profound implications for the way humans organize their interactions with natural systems of the planet. Neighborhoods, towns, cities, suburbs and metropolitan regions are the immediate contexts in which we work toward a diverse and just society, and they are the practical sites where we are compelled to confront many of the most central social, political, economic and environmental challenges of the day.

As an Urban Studies student at New College, you will learn about cities throughout the world, as well as about a range of problems and solutions that shape them. Whether planning recreational space along Florida’s Gulf Coast, addressing the problems of the homeless in our local community or examining the historic urbanization of Europe and Latin America, you will learn from and contribute to the city as a vital part of modern human life.

You will also develop a strong background in the tools and perspectives of social science and the humanistic disciplines as they relate to an understanding of human communities, as well as a background in the natural sciences associated with the core requirements in Environmental Studies. You will then apply this training in hands-on fashion to investigate and seek solutions for a type of environmental problem that interests you.

In the past, New College students in Urban Studies have conducted Independent Study Projects (ISPs) and group tutorials, as well as written theses, on a wide variety of projects, including urban watershed management, comparative transit systems and varieties of community-based environmental problem-solving. It may sound intimidating at the start, but with the help of your faculty advisor you will discover that this experiential-based, interdisciplinary AOC allows you both the freedom and the opportunity to make a difference in the world around you.

Graduates of our program choose a diverse array of fields. Careers in law, planning and sustainable development are the most common, but graduates have also gone on to become healthcare CEOs, educators and magazine publishers. One is even a professor of graphic design who looks at the intersections of rural and urban as expressed through graphic, architectural and urban design. 

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

As a joint disciplinary or “slash” AOC, as we call it, Urban Studies must be combined with another discipline (e.g., Urban Studies/Sociology, Urban Studies/Economics) in order to graduate.

This allows students a great deal of flexibility in working with their faculty advisors to design a plan of study that is uniquely tailored to their particular interests and goals. Students can also take Urban Studies as a track within our Environmental Studies AOC. Your faculty advisor will be happy to discuss the various options with you and to help you find the one that is best meets your needs and expectations.

As with all AOCs at New College, a senior thesis or project approved by faculty within the discipline is also required in order to graduate.

Faculty

Recent Theses

  • Transit in Suburbia: An Analysis of Perth, Australia’s Mass Transit System and How American Suburbs Can Overcome Automobile Dependency
  • Paved with Good Intentions: Sarasota and the Challenge of Mass Transit in the Automotive City
  • More Green, Less Grief?: Post-Katrina Reconstruction in New Orleans
  • Selling Suburbia: An Actor-Network Analysis of the Construction of Levittown, NY
  • Sea Level Rise and Local Land Use Planning: The Florida Example
  • City, Sweet City: A Study of the Implementation of New Urbanism and the Public Process
  • Beyond Ghetto Walls?: An Inquiry Into the Role of Design in the Past Failure and Current Revitalization of America’s Severely Distressed Public Housing Projects

Alumni

President and CEO
Manatee Glens Hospital and Addiction Center.

Lawyer
Partner, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP

Graphic designer and assistant professor
Ontario College of Art and Design

Director of career services
Westwood College, Atlanta, Georgia

Owner/president and chief creative officer
Leverage Media