Urban Peripheries

Author: Anthony Monta

Graffiti in Paris
Photo by the Nanovic Institute

Nanovic fellow Lucien Steil (Architecture) and Anré Venter (Psychology) received a grant from the Institute to take their team-taught seminar of students to Paris during fall break to work on research projects for the course entitled “Peripheries: Case Studies in Urban Phenomenology.”

The purpose of the course is to study various relationships between built environments in city peripheries and their inhabitants. To study such relationships, students are asked to consider issues of perception, indentification, orientation, adaptation, exclusion, and participation. Their overall goal is to understand how built environments shape human experience -- integration, segregation, re-appropriation, etc. -- and vice versa. According to Steil and Venter, the students will pay particular attention to "new forms of social, cultural and artistic expressions reveal creative conflicts and often adaptive processes of immigrant or under-privileged populations.” Accordingly, students will meet local youth groups, associations, street artists, academics and other representatives of the creative class. They will have the opportunity to explore and study Parisian neighborhoods under the guidance of local scholars, artists, architects, urbanists, and anthropologists.

Twenty students from a wide range of disciplines and majors are currently enrolled. Research projects will be exhibited after the group returns to Notre Dame. Steil and Venter aim to publish faculty and student findings over the course of several years. Their plans include applying to an external funding organization in Chicago for continued support.

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