DISPLACEMENT-FOCUSED COURSES

Courses through DRAN are offered at both Harvard and MIT. Checkin each semester to see our updated course list. For direct links to each course's site please click the image that corresponds to each course description below. 


Fall 2015

Responding to Displacement: Strategies, Methods, Tools, and Outcomes

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Fall 2015
Miloon Kothari
The course will explore, using a case study and practical application methods, different strategies and tools that are being employed around the world to respond to the growing phenomenon of displacement and evictions in the context of rapid development and urbanization. The class will use illustrations of impact assessment tools, mapping strategies, case law, policy responses and mobilization methods being employed by independent institutions, the United Nations, civil society, academics from various disciplines and government bodies.
 

Human rights at home and abroad

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Fall 2015
Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Provides a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement. Focuses on key ideas, actors, methods and sources, and critically evaluates the field. Addresses current debates in human rights, including the relationship with security, democracy, development and globalization, urbanization, equality (in housing and other economic and social rights; women's rights; ethnic, religious and racial discrimination; and policing/conflict), post-conflict rebuilding and transitional justice, and technology-related issues. Requires prior coursework, work experience, or community service that demonstrates familiarity with global affairs or ethics in social justice issues. Students taking graduate version expected to write a research paper.


Spring 2015

Planning Against Evictions

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Spring 2015
Miloon Kothari
The pedagogical purpose of the course is to offer an intellectual framework for understanding one of the world’s most pressing phenomena, which has a serious impact on many domains of planning including housing, infrastructure and industrialization and design, and to prepare students to use tools and methods for improving their capacity for planning that is more equitable and just.

 

Malaysia Sustainable Cities Practicum

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Spring 2015
Lawrence Susskind, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, J. Phillip Thompson, Miho Mazereeuw
Field-based Practicum in which 12 DUSP students selected by application will prepare for a two week stay in Malaysia during which they will work, under the close supervision of DUSP faculty and faculty at the Universiti of Teknologi of Malaysia(UTM) to assess the sustainable development efforts of regional development agencies in Penang, Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru.  The overall objective is for students to determine and document whether the sustainable development strategies in each of these three regions have been successful.  Prior to leaving Boston, students will, through guided self-study, learn about the culture, economy, physical environment, law and politics of Malaysia. They will also prepare an individual fieldwork plan, partly based partly on advice from the DUSP faculty involved with the MIT-Malaysia Sustainable Cities Partnership and partly with the help of UTM faculty (through on-line consultation). Their goal will be to formulate various hypotheses about why and how efforts to promote sustainable city development have or haven’t worked and to determine why. 


Fall 2014

Housing and Land Rights for Planners

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Fall 2014
Miloon Kothari

The course will begin with a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement. While the course will begin with an introduction to the full range of international human rights, the primary focus will be on the critical connection of housing and land rights to the ethical dimensions of planning and the role of planners in tackling the current global crisis of urbanization and urban and rural poverty. Requires familiarity with global affairs or ethics and social justice issues. 
 

india: urban displacement and resettlement 

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Fall 2014
Balakrishnan Rajagopal & Miloon Kothari

Students will work in Delhi (and Mumbai and Chennai), India, in selected jhugi-jhopri (slum) communities (called JJ clusters in Indian government’s parlance), review and assess the conditions of communities slated for resettlement or evictions and the conditions of resettlement sites, conduct data mapping and visualization to get a better understanding of the impact of displacement on affected populations, and enable an improvement of the capacity for advocacy on the part of HLRN.  Our deliverables will consist of the following: a) an assessment of the resettlement frameworks and displacement impacts in selected JJ clusters in Delhi, along with a comparative assessment of the resettlement frameworks in Chennai and Mumbai; b)mapping and data visualization of the JJ clusters as well as resettlement sites during a selected period stretching into the recent past; c) an advocacy action plan for HLRN and their allies on the best possible ways for integrating the above outputs (assessment of resettlement as well as mapping) into their advocacy strategies, including possibly in strategic litigation. 


Spring 2014

Law, social movements, and public policy

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Spring 2014
Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Studies the interaction between law, courts, and social movements in shaping domestic and global public policy. Examines how groups mobilize to use law to affect change and why they succeed and fail. Uses case studies to explore the interplay between law, social movements, and public policy in current areas such as gender, race, labor, trade, environment, and human rights. Introduces the theories of public policy, social movements, law and society, and transnational studies. Students taking the graduate version complete additional assignments.


planning against evictions and displacement

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Spring 2014
Balakrishnan Rajagopal and Miloon Kothari

Combines state of the art research on evictions and displacement globally, in the context of the global crisis of evictions and land grabbing, with the state of the art policy and practice on responses to displacement. The first half of the course will cover the explanations about the mechanisms and drivers of displacement including global commodification, urbanization including land and property speculation, new growth, and relevant development theories, climate change, violent conflict, and nationalism, and the search for alternative forms of relations to land beyond commodification, including through alternative approaches to property such as a rights-based approach to land and housing, the commons, and informal property rights. The second half of the course will introduce and evaluate the policy and legal responses the world, including the UN and civil society campaigns and movements, has developed to deal with displacement and evictions, at the national and international levels, and evaluate the use of UN and national standards as well as tools such as the Eviction Impact Assessment Tool, and participatory mapping technology, through selected case studies. The pedagogical purpose of the course is to offer an intellectual framework for understanding one of the world’s most pressing phenomena, which has a serious impact on many domains of planning including housing, infrastructure and industrialization and design, and to prepare students to use tools and methods for improving their capacity for planning that is more equitable and just.


negotiation and dispute resolution in the public sector

MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Spring 2014
Larry Susskind

Investigates social conflict and distributional disputes in the public sector. While theoretical aspects of conflict and consensus building are considered, focus is on the practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. Comparisons between unassisted and assisted negotiation are reviewed along with the techniques of facilitation and mediation.
 

urbanization and international development 

Harvard Graduate School of Design, Spring 2014
Michael Hooper

This course undertakes a detailed examination of global urbanization in the context of international development. The course is divided into four components. It begins by briefly introducing the historical context for urban growth in the developing world, examining in particular colonial policies towards urban settlements and urbanization. The course then turns towards the challenge of defining international development, a task undertaken in part through a critical examination of key debates in development theory. As an example of these debates, the course will address the tension between poverty and inequality as measures of development. The majority of the course concentrates on the latter two sections. In these, it presents and evaluates the key policy frameworks and theoretical paradigms through which the challenges facing contemporary urban settlements in the developing world are addressed and understood. It then focuses on an in-depth analysis of the principal substantive challenges facing developing world cities, ranging from rural-urban migration and the rapid growth of informal settlements to conflict and entrenched poverty. The course makes a concerted point throughout of examining areas of overlap between developing and developed world experience, looking in particular at parallels between developing world challenges and the issues facing marginalized communities in North America and Europe.


Fall 2013

Legal Aspects Of Property and Land Use

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MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Fall 2013
Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Examines legal and institutional arrangements for the establishment, transfer, and control over property under American and selected comparative systems including India and South Africa. Focuses on key issues of property and land use law regarding planning and economic development. Emphasizes efficient resource use; institutional, entitlement and social relational approaches to property; distributional and other social aspects; and the relationship between property, culture, and democracy.